Why Annette Bening was cut from American Crime Story

Sarah Roker
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Digital Spy

At one point Annette Bening was set to lead American Crime Story: Katrina, a follow-up to The People vs O.J. Simpson about the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

However, it was reported back in August that showrunner Ryan Murphy was completely retooling the series by ditching its full cast, aside from Sarah Paulson, with fellow Crime Story The Assassination of Gianni Versace moving ahead of it.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Bening has now explained what led to the drastic change of plans.

"What happened was, from what I understand, Ryan Murphy - who I've worked with before - decided he needed to stop and rethink the way he was approaching Katrina," she said.

Photo credit: Albert L. Ortega / Getty Images

"He found that the best way to do it was to basically use one of the – there were a couple of major books written about Katrina that were completely brilliant and thorough and thoughtful, and one of them is called Five Days at Memorial.

"So I think he decided that he would just focus on the story by telling it that way."

Bening was to play Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco alongside Dennis Quaid as President George W. Bush and Matthew Broderick as FEMA director Michael D. Brown.

Murphy was originally adapting The Great Deluge by Douglas Brinkley, but Bening explained that "Kathleen Blanco really isn't in [Five Days at Memorial]".

"[Murphy] was right: He needs to do it thoughtfully and carefully," Bening added. "And maybe just making the Memorial hospital the microcosm of the larger thing is the way to do it.

"It was a great, great tragedy, and there was so much unnecessary suffering and death because of racism and poverty. So it's important when we're told that story again, that he does it in the way that he thinks is right."

There's no air date for the Katrina series yet, but American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace premieres on FX in the US in 2018. BBC Two will air the show in the UK.

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