'American Crime Story: Katrina' "Stalled," Director Says

"We're all standing by waiting to find out what's happening," producing helmer Anthony Hemingway told THR at TCA.
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Anthony Hemingway

The fate of American Crime Story: Katrina appears to be up in the air.

"That just kind of got stalled," director Anthony Hemingway told The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour when asked about the previously announced season of Ryan Murphy's hit FX anthology. "We're all standing by waiting to find out what's happening."

Despite having cast several key roles with high-profile stars — including Dennis Quaid as former President George W. Bush, Annette Bening as former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Matthew Broderick as former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown — it's possible the installment of the FX anthology may never come to fruition.

"Nothing has really been done. We haven't started prep on it at all," added Hemingway, who helmed five episodes of the show's Emmy-winning first season, The People V. O.J. Simpson. But is there a chance Katrina just won't happen? "Who knows? It's all up to Ryan Murphy," he said. FX and producers 20th Century Fox Television did not immediately respond to THR's request for an update on Katrina's status.

Even before the anthology debuted, Murphy revealed in a January 2016 THR cover story that Hurricane Katrina would be the next subject of the series. "I want this show to be a socially conscious, socially aware examination of different types of crime around the world," Murphy said at the time. "And in my opinion, Katrina was a fucking crime — a crime against a lot of people who didn’t have a strong voice, and we’re going to treat it as a crime. That’s what this show is all about."

But in June, FX announced that Versace — another anticipated installment of the series starring Darren Criss, Edgar Ramirez, Penelope Cruz and Ricky Martin — would actually air first, though the network clarified that both seasons would still air in 2018. In addition, THR exclusively reported in January that the show's fourth season will likely center on the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Sources suggest that the reason for the Katrina delay is that Murphy has been more invested in the Versace story and that the former was proving more difficult to realize than expected. "I just think that was [what was] at play. It was the bird-in-hand syndrome. [Versace] needed a lot of attention, so I think he just made the decision to do that," noted Hemingway. "Instead of do what was intended, which was doing them parallel at the same time, he chose to do them one at a time."

Hemingway most recently directed nine episodes of WGN America's since-canceled drama Underground and is now moving to USA Network's Tupac Shakur murder mystery series Unsolved. So if Murphy does move forward with Katrina, will Hemingway remain involved? "It's all on timing," he says. "If the timing works out, great. If not, you got to sometimes unfortunately miss out on things. There's so much greatness going on — you want to do it all, but you can't."

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