Q: When you read the script, did you think immediately that you would do it?
A: I knew the story so well, having come from Houston, and I knew Memorial Hermann Hospital because my mother worked there for 18 years. I remember watching it on the news. It already interested me because it was something that was very close to me. Then, I read it and was really drawn into the drama of their dilemma and their situation and to this woman, Jeanette, and how brave she was. I was intrigued by the kind of things that they were able to do with absolutely no power. It was extraordinary. These people went to work like they do every day, not expecting anything to go wrong, and, for the first quarter of the movie, you see them going about their day-to-day tasks. Then, to see them cope as things get worse and worse is very exciting and very frightening.
Q: Has this experience given you a different or new appreciation for nurses?
A: I don't think I ever thought about the scope of all the different things they have to do. For example, all of the medicine cabinets were computerized. So they could not even get the medicine cabinets open when the power went down and they lost back-up power. They had to rescue the blood from the basement, where it was completely flooded, so patients in surgery would have blood. It was extraordinary.
Q: We're so dependent these days on technology. How do you think the situation of complete computer failure affected the nurses?
A: One of the things I found really amazing about these nurses was that, even though they work daily with all this technology to support their patients, they went back to their basic training: ventilating patients by hand, taking pulse by hand and looking at a patient and being able to tell by the color of their skin whether they were getting oxygenated enough -- and all by flashlight. It's really amazing.
Q: Do you think any of them knew the magnitude of what they were doing?
A: They didn't know what was going to happen because they weren't able to communicate with the outside. They didn't realize in the beginning that the entire downtown was flooded. They thought, at first, it was just a problem with their hospital, but of course they found out that it was all of downtown Houston that was flooded. And nobody could get in and nobody could get out because of the flooding.
Q: Does the fact that this is a real story bring a different dimension to the drama?
A: Because it's a true story it has its own inherent drama. It makes it more powerful than a fictional story because people really went through this event.
Q: How does your character's relationship with Rick Schroder's character evolve over the course of the movie?
A: One of the things I really like about the script is that Rick Schroder's character and my character have a kind of "arc" together. He starts out as an arrogant, young surgeon, and I'm the head nurse who's been there a long time. He really annoys me because he is so arrogant, so we're really like oil and water. Then we have to come together to solve the problems of how to save these people. Gradually, we begin to have a respect for each other, which you really see at the end.
Q: What is your feeling about the camaraderie between the nurses?
A: It's a very real thing. My mother worked at Memorial Hermann Hospital for 18 years, and they do talk about the friendships you form because it's a very tough job. It's wonderful because you help people and you save many lives. Nurses form very strong bonds, and, in this case, the bonds are what help everyone get through it.
Q: Where does the drama of 14 HOURS come from?
A: It comes from so many lives hanging in the balance and a few people having to figure out how to save them.
Q: Do you consider Jeanette a hero?
A: I really do. She's able to cope in these circumstances and come up with ways to solve the problems they encounter. I think she's an extraordinary hero.
A JOHNSON & JOHNSON SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATION is a service mark of Johnson & Johnson.