John Travolta Joins American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson


After emerging as a trendsetter in the latest anthology series craze, American Horror Story has garnered critical acclaim and huge ratings for its dark depiction of humanity. As a result of its success, series creator Ryan Murphy is set to head up a thematic spin-off entitled American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, which has now added a major name to its ranks.

As its title suggests, the show will revolve around the infamous case of O.J. Simpson, which saw the professional athlete-actor on trial for the murder of his wife and her lover. At the time, the event formed the basis of a media circus, with channels the world over scrambling to devote time to its coverage. While the public were granted courtroom footage, little was known of what went on outside the court. This is where the series will step in. Uniting Murphy once more with FX Networks, the miniseries aims to illuminate the proceedings from the lawyers’ perspective, and how their decisions led the jury to reach a reasonable doubt verdict.

So far, the ten-episode show has already attracted a core of recognizable names to its cast roster, including Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson, Sarah Paulson as prosecutor Marcia Clark and David Schwimmer as Simpson’s close ally Robert Kardashian. Now the show has landed an even bigger fish in the shape of John Travolta, who’s primed to play the role of defense attorney Robert Shapiro. This will mark Travolta’s first TV role in forty years, since he appeared on the 1975 show Welcome Back, Kotter. With his big screen offerings of late having lacked the punch of his mid-career revival in Pulp Fiction, snagging this juicy role could see the actor turning over a new leaf.

Written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson begins shooting this January.

American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson is written by Golden Globe-winning producers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Big Eyes, The People v. Larry Flynt). Emmy and Golden Globe award winning producer and Emmy Award winning Director Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, The Normal Heart) will direct the first episode. American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions. Production begins this spring in Los Angeles.

Based on the book The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin, the miniseries is a look at the O.J. Simpson trial told from the perspective of the lawyers. It explores the chaotic behind-the-scenes dealings and maneuvering on both sides of the court, and how a combination of prosecution overconfidence, defense shrewdness, and the LAPD’s history with the city’s African-American community gave a jury what it needed: reasonable doubt.

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