Broderick will play Michael Brown, the former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency who was roundly criticized for the agency’s slow response to the devastation caused by the hurricane that hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005.
Bening was tapped earlier this month for the role of Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Bianco. The final death toll from the Category 5 storm was 1,836, most of them from Louisiana. The lack of preparation for such a fierce storm and the bungled federal aid and recovery effort became a black eye for the Bush administration.
Brown resigned from FEMA less than two weeks after President Bush visited a Katrina disaster site and famously proclaimed: “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”
That statement juxtaposed against images of storm victims housed for days without electricity and basic staples inside New Orleans’ Superdome and other facilities became the embodiment of the federal government’s failure. The fact that most of the hardest-hit areas were largely lower-income African-American communities added to the national outrage to what was seen as indifference to the suffering by the Bush administration.
Broderick is a two-time Tony winner who was most recently seen on screen in “Manchester By the Sea” and “Rules Don’t Apply.” At present he’s appearing off Broadway in Wallace Shawn’s “Evening at the House Talk.”
Bening and Broderick are the first “Katrina” cast members to be confirmed. The second installment in the “American Crime Story” anthology franchise is expected to include a few cast members from the inaugural “People V. O.J. Simpson” but none have formally been announced by FX.
The bar of expectations is high for “Katrina.” “People V. O.J. Simpson” became a cultural sensation, scoring record FX ratings and collecting nine Emmys and a slew of other kudos. Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson are returning as exec producers for Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions.
Broderick is repped by CAA, Management 360 and attorney Barry Tyerman.