‘American Crime Story’ Will Live Up to High Expectations

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There’s been lots of big casting news from the world of Fox creative brainchild Ryan Murphy this week. After it was announced that Jamie Lee Curtis and Emma Roberts would star on the first season of Murphy’s new Fox horror-comedy hybrid, Scream Queens, news has now come out that Cuba Gooding Jr. has been tapped to star as O.J. Simpson on the first season of American Horror Story spinoff American Crime Story. He will appear on the show alongside AHS alum Sarah Paulson as the Simpson trial’s prosecutor, Marcia Clark, Deadline reports.

Like the highly successful American Horror Story, American Crime Story will have an anthology format. Crime Story will tell the story of a different true American crime each season, starting with the O.J. Simpson trial. The story will be based on the book The Run of His Life: The People vs. O.J. Simpson and will look at the case from the perspective of the lawyers working behind the scenes of the media and public eyes.

Paulson has been a fixture on American Horror Story from the beginning and has been nominated for Emmys for her work on the Asylum and Coven seasons. She’s currently playing a two-headed woman on the fourth season, Freak Show.

Gooding Jr. can currently be seen in Selma, the film about Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights marches in Selma, Alabama. After winning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Jerry Maguire in 1996, the actor never again reached the same critical success. Murphy has helped revive the careers of actresses Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates in a unique way with American Horror Story, and Gooding Jr. may be hoping for some similar TV magic.

Other crime anthology series, like True Detective and Fargo, have also been very successful recently, and added some career-making work to the résumés of movie stars like Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, and Billy Bob Thornton. Murphy has already shown that he knows how to work the anthology format over the course of multiple seasons, as well as coax award-winning performances from his actors.

The Simpson trial is a good place for American Crime Story to start. Given the attention the case received when under trial back in 1995, 20 years later is a good time to bring about a fresh perspective to the case. And given the racial undertones involved in the case, including the LAPD’s history with the African-American community, as well as the racial divide between how Americans interpreted the results of the case, going back to explore the O.J. Simpson trial is a timely subject given the recent issues surrounding Ferguson and police brutality.

“The O.J. case was as tragic as it was fascinating — it seemed like everyone had a stake in the outcome. It was really the beginning of the modern tabloid age,” Murphy said when the subject matter of the show’s first season was announced, per Deadline. Now that Murphy’s found his O.J., American Crime Story is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated shows of the coming year.

Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS

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