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Mullan plans new film about Hurricane Katrina

PETER Mullan is swapping the mean streets of Glasgow for those of New Orleans for his next writing project.

The actor and director, who was awarded two Scottish Baftas for his film Neds and often works on films featuring an urban Scottish backdrop, is planning a story set in the southern US city at the time of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Mullan, who won Baftas for best director and writer for Neds, said: “The new film based on a true story of two paramedics from San Francisco who found themselves in New Orleans when the hurricane hit.”

He is currently writing the film and plans to direct it and hopes to travel to New Orleans. “I mean, I’d love to recreate it on the Clyde but it would be a bit difficult, I couldn’t afford the CGI,” he joked.

The film was prompted when he read an online article in the International Socialist Worker magazine.

The article was written by two San Francisco-based paramedics, Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky, who were trapped in New Orleans in the aftermath of the hurricane.

The Bush administration was criticised at the time for the response to the disaster and the then president George W Bush admitted it had exposed serious problems in the response capability of government.

Mullan said: “I came across the story years ago and there was something about it that really touched on the obviously institutionally racist aspect of it all. To be brutally honest it’s also about class, the working class in America, white and black.

“The US government decided it was a war zone. They weren’t treated like –‘Oh my goodness you are in the middle of a disaster, what can we do to help?’

“It was, ‘Oh, wait a minute, we don’t like you people, you are the wrong colour, the wrong class, we are going to clamp down in case you spread the contagion’. By the fifth day remember, nobody could get out of New Orleans without a thorough and undignified medical examination.”

Katrina was one of the most devastating natural disasters in American history. The hurricane caused $81 billion (£51bn) in damage and a total of 1833 people died as it ripped across the American south from August 25 to 29, 2005.

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