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Interview: Monica Wyche on Her Real-Life Connection to Hurricane Katrina and the Power of ‘Five Days at Memorial’

The new Apple TV+ limited series Five Days of Memorial, based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Sheri Fine, looks at the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, when systems were overwhelmed and many people lost their lives under potentially preventable circumstances. Among the people profiled in the series is Sandra LeBlanc (Monica Wyche), who, with her husband Marc (JD Evermore), steps up to try to save his mother, who is trapped in a care facility at the New Orleans hospital.

Awards Radar had the chance to speak with Wyche about her arc on the show and her ability to relate to this role based on her own experiences struggling to reach family during Katrina. On the message of the project, she expressed:

“We don’t always get it right, but I think that people inherently are good people, and we want to help one another. If you don’t see that things are getting done, it is, I think, human nature to jump in and try to help wherever you can and however you can. That’s a big theme of what’s happening in the series.”

On recreating the hurricane and the intensity of the effects, she shared:

“I shot in two locations. I shot in and around Toronto, and then I shot down in New Orleans. The scenes that we shot in Toronto were shot in this enormous tank, like the size of a parking lot. It had four feet of water in it and all the crew had waders on, we’re floating around in boats. And there are bluescreens all around the tank. So when you see it in the series, it’s New Orleans all around the water. There’s flooded water, but there’s New Orleans. It was surreal. We would come to work and one day there would be the roof of a store that says God help us on it, then the next day you come and there’s a baby doll floating in this tank. And then the next day, there’s a stuntman floating face-down and he’s a dead body. It was staggering.”

Watch the full conversation below:

New episodes of Five Days at Memorial premiere Fridays on Apple TV+

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Written by Abe Friedtanzer

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