The O.J. Simpson trial happened 20 years ago. It was also the first major cultural incident that I remember being aware of and following as it was happening. In the intervening years, I’ve realized that it was significantly more complicated than just a murder trial. It brought about conversations about race and fame, and how easily both can sway juries. It showed blatantly what superior levels of defense money can buy you. It brought up the first conversations about domestic violence and DNA testing that some people had ever had. It was an impressively difficult trial to argue because of the outside factors that come with the additional media scrutiny. Will a standard courtroom demeanor still work when cameras are present? Will playing to the cameras influence the jury the way you’d like it to? And because of the media attention, the trial created minor celebrities (Judge Ito, Kato Kaelin) and sensationalized, made for tv moments (“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”).
It’s at the very least a complex case that’s become a cultural touchstone. And any dramatization of it would require a director skilled in subtly and sophistication in order to avoid the sensationalized, media circus elements that plagued the trial. So who’s bringing the Simpson trial to FX as a miniseries?
The same guy who did this:
Yep. Ryan Murphy will direct Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson and Sarah Paulson as prosecutor Marcia Clark:
Based on the book The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson, ACS: The People v. O.J. Simpson is a look at the O.J. Simpson trial told from the perspective of the lawyers that explores the chaotic behind-the-scenes dealings and maneuvering on both sides of the court, and how a combination of prosecution confidence, defense wiliness, and the LAPD’s history with the city’s African-American community gave a jury what it needed: reasonable doubt.
So I’m going to need to see Paulson and whoever plays Christopher Darden perform an updated dubstep version on “Living On A Prayer” just as the case starts getting out of control; Johnnie Cochran, Robert Shapiro, & co. do “Run This Town” as they’re walking into court; and Gooding as Simpson belting “Beautiful Day” as he leaves the courthouse for the last time. Some sort of full ensemble piece would be nice, but not required.