Cuba Gooding Jr. will tackle the role of infamous football superstar O.J. Simpson in the first season of Ryan Murphy’s next project, “American Crime Story.”
The first season, “The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” is based on Jeffrey Toobin’s book “The Run of His Life: The People vs. O.J. Simpson” and will follow Simpson’s 1995 murder trial. This will be Gooding’s first lead role in a TV series.
“American Horror Story” actress Sarah Paulson will also star as prosecutor Marcia Clark. No other roles have been released.
Simpson’s 1995 trial was a cultural touchstone that riveted the nation—and whose not guilty verdict for Simpson revealed serious racial fissures in the country, or at least revealed them to white people. Simpson was tried for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and waiter Ronald Goldman, who were killed in Brown Simpson’s home. Often called “the Trial of the Century,” Simpson’s murder trial was one of the most highly publicized criminal trials in American history after it was televised for more than eight months.
Simpson was acquitted of both charges, thanks to his defense team of Robert Shapiro, Johnnie Cochran, F. Lee Bailey, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Kardashian, Gerald Uelmen, Robert Blasier, and Carl E. Douglas, Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld. Cochran’s defense team pointed blame at the Los Angeles Police Department, claiming misconduct, and convinced the jury that there was reasonable doubt that the DNA evidence had been mishandled by lab scientists and technicians.
After Simpson’s acquittal, both the Brown and Goldman families sued Simpson for damages in a civil trial for $40 million and, on February 6, 1997, a jury unanimously voted that there was enough evidence to hold Simpson liable for damages in both deaths.
Producer Ryan Murphy said that though the new series does not yet have an official premier, we could possibly be seeing the first episode debut in January 2016. Each season of the show will showcase a different highly publicized, controversial trial.