On February 2nd, Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story series will premiere on FX, paving the way for ten episodes that will revolve around the O.J. Simpson trial, race, criminal justice, and police bias.
In typical Ryan Murphy fashion, he’s set the stage with a spectacular, star-studded cast: Courtney B. Vance (Johnnie Cochran), Cuba Gooding Jr. (O.J. Simpson), Sarah Paulson (Marcia Clark), John Travolta (Robert Shapiro), and David Schwimmer (Robert Kardashian).
With Season 1 of American Crime Story (ACS) being based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson, the show’s creators initially wanted to focus solely on the trial’s historical significance and the birth of the 24/7 news era. However, while the show was being developed, the tragedies involving Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and many others were uncovered for the world to see.
“I remember sitting there on the couch with [producers] Brad and Nina, and I just thought, ‘Oh my God, our show just became that much more important,'” FX Productions’ senior vice-president Gina Balian told The Hollywood Reporter. Scriptwriter Larry Kraszewski adds, “Any sense that we were talking about something in the past was removed.”
Because Simpson’s case follows the Rodney King riots by two years, the team behind ACS wanted to incorporate the significant racial and cultural attitude of the time (which, in turn, mirrors obstacles we’re still facing today).
In addition to race and criminal justice being a significant part of the show, there will also be a focus on the anti-feminist attacks that surrounded prosecutor Marcia Clark’s appearance. Sarah Paulson, who will be playing the lawyer, states, “The amount of scrutiny that Marcia had to endure based on her physical appearance was horrifying, and I told her I thought she handled it with such grace.”
Overall, Ryan Murphy aims to make American Crime Story “ a socially conscious, socially aware examination of different types of crime around the world.” And although Season 1 hasn’t even premiered yet, he knows exactly what crime he wants to cover in Season 2: Hurricane Katrina. “[I]n 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,” Murphy explains. “That’s what this show is all about.” This particular storyline is set to be released in Fall 2016 and the creator hopes to follow 6-8 people as they examine all sides of the natural disaster. As of right now, his team doesn’t know what book they’ll base Season 2 on.
As for us, we’re excited to hear that Murphy’s new show will be both informative and culturally significant during a time when it’s important to reflect on the past, present, and future.
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