American Crime Story made a huge splash with its first season all about the sensational trial of O.J. Simpson, and the upcoming season about the assassination of Gianni Versace looks to be just as engaging. The third installment in the American Crime Story franchise has been set to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina since way back in early 2016, and the cast has been coming together for a while. Now, however, we know of some big changes behind the scenes that have shaken up what we can expect out of American Crime Story: Katrina.
The original story of American Crime Story: Katrina was going to be based on The Great Deluge, which was written by Douglas Brinkley and tells the tales of Hurricane Katrina heroes and survivors. The season will now be based on Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink's book Five Days at Memorial, which chronicles the aftermath of the hurricane on New Orleans Memorial Medical Center, where the staff made the decision to euthanize critically ill patients when faced with days without power. The book covers the legal battle over whether Dr. Anna Pou and two nurses were guilty of homicide after it was determined that 23 patients at the hospital died of elevated drug levels.
All things considered, the switch from The Great Deluge to Five Days at Memorial as the source material sounds like it will result in Katrina feeling a lot more like People vs. O.J. than head honcho Ryan Murphy's original vision for the season. When Hurricane Katrina was announced as the subject for a season of American Crime Story, Murphy said Katrina was "a crime against a lot of people who didn't have a strong voice," and the show planned to "treat it as a crime." The changes seem to indicate that the episodes will focus on one particular case rather than the overall crisis that was Hurricane Katrina.
THR reports that the changes are happening due to issues with planning the story and complications with water effects, which would obviously be necessary for a season all about Hurricane Katrina as it was still ravaging New Orleans. The new vision for American Crime Story: Katrina may still require water effects for any scenes set at the hospital, but the bulk of the scenes may well take place after the hurricane died down and authorities were trying to make sense of everything that happened.
Not much is known about the cast of the updated Katrina. Sarah Paulson is the only actor to officially sign on for this new version, and she'll star as Dr. Anna Pou. Producers are reportedly trying to find ways to keep the actors who were attached to the initial version. If they do remain on board, they'll play different characters than originally announced. Key members of the cast were Dennis Quaid as President George W. Bush, Annette Bening as former Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco, and Matthew Broderick as FEMA director Michael D. Brown.
Unfortunately, we have a while to wait before American Crime Story: Katrina gets into gear. A new showrunner and writer have yet to be found, and production is currently slated to begin in spring 2019. For your viewing options sooner than 2019, check out our fall TV premiere schedule.