HomeLife StyleFor Filmmakers, O.J. Simpson’s Trial Was a Powerful Case Study

For Filmmakers, O.J. Simpson’s Trial Was a Powerful Case Study

More than 20 years after the O.J. Simpson trial, long after the headlines had faded and the news cycle had moved on to other scandals, the polarizing saga was thrust back into the national conversation thanks to two very different projects.

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” an FX mini-series directed by Ryan Murphy, won nine Emmys in 2016. That year’s “O.J.: Made in America,” a nearly eight-hour film for ESPN, won the Academy Award for best documentary feature.

“It was a story that combined everything that obsesses the American people,” the legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said the day after Simpson died at 76. Toobin’s 1996 book, “The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” inspired the FX series.

Toobin said the Simpson odyssey captivated the country’s psyche. There was love, violence, sports and Hollywood. Even a fugitive on the run.

Karaszewski said that like during Simpson’s trial, race was at the forefront of the national conversation when “The People v. O.J. Simpson” was being produced, during the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement after the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watchman in 2012.

The mini-series focused on the Simpson trial, treating him as a secondary character while highlighting other key players in the courtroom, like Marcia Clark, the lead prosecutor, and Johnnie Cochran, one of Simpson’s prominent defense lawyers.

In contrast, ESPN’s documentary, an installment of the sports network’s “30 for 30” series, traced Simpson’s biography and contextualized it through the sports and socioeconomic history of the Los Angeles region. Its director, Ezra Edelman, has said he thought it was important to take that wider view.

“I was interested in the 30 years before the murders, the city, race and identity, and the juxtaposition with O.J.’s story,” he told The New York Times in 2016. “This is a big American studies paper. This touches on everything in our culture.”

Through an ESPN spokeswoman, Edelman declined to comment after Simpson’s death. Several of the documentary’s producers did not respond to requests for comment.

Karaszewski said the distance from the trial allowed viewers of the FX series to watch the case with fresh eyes, without the emotional response to the verdict. And he and Toobin agreed that it also presented the saga and its characters — including Robert Kardashian, a defense lawyer whose family’s fame grew after the case — to new audiences.

“For those of us who lived through it, it brought it back up,” Toobin said, “but it introduced a whole generation of people who had no firsthand experience with the story.”

Source link



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments