The Hollywood Reporter: The Retrial of O.J. Simpson

The Hollywood Reporter, Matteo Perin, John Travolta

Inside TV's Retrial of OJ Simpson: A Saga of Race, Redress and, Yes, Robert Kardashian's Kids

Twenty years after the football player's acquittal, John Travolta, Cuba Gooding Jr and the players behind FX's 'American Crime Story' reveal for the first time how their very 2016 rearview examination of the case reveals a whole other reality. Plus: Season 2's topic (Katrina) revealed.

John Travolta wearing Matteo Perin in The Hollywood Reporter

John Travolta wearing Matteo Perin in The Hollywood Reporter

"It's a big day, huh O.J.?" says a guard, peering through the bars of O.J. Simpson's jail cell.

"The biggest," he responds, his voice shaky.

"I'm just so nervous," he adds, running a razor over his stubbly cheek. The football icon, charged with the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, is on this day awaiting the verdict in the most high-profile criminal trial in U.S. history. A worldwide audience of roughly 100 million will be watching live and then exhaustively dissecting and analyzing the outcome, as they have every other detail of the case.

"You know," the guard tells him, "I don't think you gotta be nervous." He pauses and leans in, "I've been talking to my buddies over at the hotel where they're keeping the jurors and, let's just say, I don't think you gotta be nervous."

"Good!" shouts executive producer Ryan Murphy as he emerges from behind a pair of monitors on the Los Angeles soundstage where he's directing The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, premiering Feb. 2 on FX. It's surprising, little-known details like this, culled from Jeffrey Toobin's book The Run of his Life, that convinced Murphy, along with producer Nina Jacobson, to dive headfirst into one of the most well-worn, polarizing stories in modern America where, of course, everyone knows the ending. The 10-episode series, which makes no overt argument for guilt or innocence, is unlikely to change anyone's view of Simpson's culpability (he was, as the guard predicted, acquitted of all charges on Oct. 3, 1995); instead, it's a meticulous blow-by-blow of the case, illuminating all the ways it inflamed racial politics, presaged the reign of reality TV, set the gold standard for saturation news coverage and tainted everyone involved as a tabloid caricature... READ MORE

Rick Krusky