Q: So what appealed to you about 14 HOURS?
A: It's a great story about people under extraordinary circumstances working to save an entire technologically equipped hospital. They have to use their ingenuity and whatever resources available to them and rely on their basic training to get the job done.
Q: Does the fact that this is a true story make this movie more dramatic?
A: I think it does. Though we've combined real people to make up the characters for the film, the fact that it's a true event gives it great veracity and truth. We also owe something to some of these people who were able to pull through and evacuate these patients alive at the end of the day. Many of them were critical-care patients on ventilators; they had to literally carry them down several flights of stairs. I was stunned by the story when I read it, but became more aware of how heroic it was when we reenacted a lot of these sequences and I realized how difficult it was to shoot, let alone how to do it in real life.
Q: Because of the power outage, the only main form of communication was via cell phone. How do you think this affected the situation?
A: I think the nurses and doctors felt the isolation, but they had a job to do. What's interesting is they didn't let their personal feelings come through. Each of them had a responsibility, whether to their families, who they were not in contact with, or to the patients. They had to deal with the situation and disregard their own fears and anxieties to keep everything flowing.
Q: What is it like to lead three such phenomenal actors as Rick Schroder, JoBeth Williams and Kris Kristofferson?
A: They're wonderful. JoBeth Williams plays Jeanette, an emergency charge nurse also filling in for ICU. She's a very competent nurse, very professional; she knows how every piece of equipment works and knows every protocol. When these lights go off and they completely lose power, she finds herself in charge of the entire hospital and having to evacuate it. She works in conjunction with a young surgeon, Dr. Foster, who's played by Rick Schroder, an unlikely hero. He has a certain brashness to him; he's very good at what he does, but he's not a people person. There is some conflict between Jeanette and Dr. Foster at the beginning of the movie that ultimately, through necessity, has to resolve itself during the course of this story. I think that's really what the story is about. Kris Kristofferson plays Whortle, who is in charge of the ECON, which monitors the Houston bayou's water levels and any emergency situation that arises. These are all highly trained professionals, and they are in a situation in which they have to work together, and they end up finding out they need each other to survive.
Q: Did your perception of doctors and nurses change while doing this movie?
A: Oh, completely. When JOHNSON & JOHNSON gave me all the information they had on nursing and how there is a shortage of nurses, I became aware of the importance of these people who do such incredibly great work. Doctors and nurses don't need a disaster to label them heroes. They are everyday heroes by helping people, by allowing people to be comfortable and live better lives and by working every day to keep us well.
Q: Where does the drama of 14 HOURS come from?
A: The drama of 14 HOURS comes from ordinary people doing extraordinary things under extraordinary circumstances.
A JOHNSON & JOHNSON SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATION is a service mark of Johnson & Johnson.