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American Crime Story is an American true crime anthology television series developed by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who are executive producers with Brad Falchuk, Nina Jacobson, Ryan Murphy, and Brad Simpson. It premiered on the cable network FX in the United States on February 2, 2016.[1][2][3]

American Crime Story
American Crime Story Season 1 Poster.jpg
Genre True crime
Based on Season 1
The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson
by Jeffrey Toobin
Season 2
Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U. S. History
by Maureen Orth
Developed by Scott Alexander
Larry Karaszewski
Starring
Composer(s) Mac Quayle
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 10 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Chip Vucelich
  • John Travolta
  • Alexis Martin Woodall
Location(s) Los Angeles, California
Cinematography Nelson Cragg
Editor(s)
  • Adam Penn
  • C. Chi-Yoon Chung
  • Stewart Schill
Running time 41–58 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor 20th Television
Release
Original network FX
Original release February 2, 2016 (2016-02-02) – present
External links
Website www.fxnetworks.com/shows/american-crime-story/

Similar to American Horror Story, also from Murphy and Falchuk, each season is presented as a self-contained miniseries, following separate unrelated true events. Season 1, subtitled The People v. O. J. Simpson, presents the murder trial of O. J. Simpson, based on Jeffrey Toobin's book The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson.[4][5] The second season, subtitled The Assassination of Gianni Versace, will explore the murder of designer Gianni Versace by serial killer Andrew Cunanan, based on Maureen Orth's book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U. S. History.[6][7] Series creators Alexander and Karaszewski will not be returning for the second season.[8] A third and fourth season are also in development. The third season will focus on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,[9] using Sheri Fink's book Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital as the primary source material.[10][11] The fourth season will cover the Monica Lewinsky-Bill Clinton sex scandal and the ensuing events during Clinton's presidency, based on Toobin's book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President.[12][13]

Katrina was originally planned to be the second season of the series, with Versace following as the third. However, in June 2017, it was announced that Katrina would not begin production until early 2018 and that Versace would air in early 2018, replacing Katrina as the show's official second installment.[14]

Contents

Cast and charactersEdit

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

The People v. O. J. Simpson

On October 7, 2014, it was announced that FX had ordered a 10-episode season of American Crime Story, developed by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, and executive produced by Alexander and Karaszewski, as well as Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, who co-created such series as Nip/Tuck, Glee, American Horror Story, and Scream Queens. Murphy also directed the pilot episode. Other executive producers are Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson.[17] Co-executive producers are Anthony Hemingway and D. V. DeVincentis. All 10 episodes were expected to be written by Alexander and Karaszewski.[4][18] The series was previously in development at Fox but since moved to the company's sibling cable network FX.[19]

Katrina

When first announced as the second season, Katrina was said to be using Douglas Brinkley's book The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast as the primary source material,[20][11] with Annette Bening cast as Kathleen Blanco, Matthew Broderick as Michael D. Brown, and Dennis Quaid as George W. Bush.[21] Cuba Gooding Jr.[15] and Courtney B. Vance[15] were set to return after their participation in the first season, but after the source material was changed, only Sarah Paulson was set to star as Anna Pou, with the other actors such as Bening, Broderick, and Quaid leaving the project. However, it was said the producers would try to find new characters for at least some of those actors already cast.[16]

CastingEdit

For season 1, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Sarah Paulson were the first to be cast as Simpson and Marcia Clark, respectively.[22] Subsequently, David Schwimmer was cast as Robert Kardashian.[23] In January 2015, it was reported that John Travolta had joined the cast as Robert Shapiro; he would also serve as producer.[24] In February 2015, Courtney B. Vance joined the series as Johnnie Cochran.[25] In March 2015, it was announced that Connie Britton would co-star as Faye Resnick.[26] April 2015 saw the casting of Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden,[27] Jordana Brewster as Denise Brown,[28] and Kenneth Choi as Judge Lance Ito.[29] In May 2015, it was confirmed Selma Blair would be portraying Kris Kardashian Jenner.[30] In July 2015, it was announced Nathan Lane had joined the cast as F. Lee Bailey.[31]

In February 2017, Annette Bening has joined the cast of Katrina as Kathleen Blanco,[32] while Matthew Broderick was cast as Michael D. Brown.[33] That same month, Édgar Ramírez and Darren Criss joined the cast of The Assassination of Gianna Versace as Gianni Versace and Andrew Cunanan, respectively.[34]

Murphy confirmed the reports announcing Lady Gaga would portray Donatella Versace in The Assassination of Gianni Versace were false;[35][36] Penélope Cruz was later cast in the role.[37] In April 2017, it was announced that Ricky Martin was joining the cast of The Assassination of Gianni Versace as Antonio D'Amico, Versace’s longtime partner.[38] On April 28, 2017, Annaleigh Ashford was seen filming on the set of The Assassination of Gianna Versace with Criss.[39] On June 21, 2017, it was announced through EW that Ashford's role in the series would be as Elizabeth Cote, a friend of Cunanan's since high school.[40] On May 5, 2017, Murphy posted a photo on Instagram of Criss and Max Greenfield on the set of the season.

On June 21, 2017, it was announced that Finn Wittrock will star in The Assassination of Gianni Versace, playing Jeffrey Trail, Cunanan's first victim.

FilmingEdit

Principal photography for Season 1 began on May 14, 2015, in Los Angeles, California.[28][41] According to a lot of set photos, principal photography of then season 3, now being considered season 2, began at the beginning of May, 2017, in Miami, Florida.

PromotionEdit

In October 2015, FX released its first promotional trailer for The People v. O. J. Simpson, showing an Akita dog whining, walking from its residence onto a sidewalk to bark, then walking back to its residence, leaving behind bloody paw prints.[42] Later that month another teaser was released, wherein the first actual footage of Travolta as Shapiro was shown. In the teaser, Shapiro is about to ask Simpson (whose face is unseen) if he is responsible for the murder of Simpson's ex-wife. In the next short teaser that was released, Simpson (again unseen) is taking a lie detector test.

In November, two new teasers were released. The first shows Simpson writing his attempted suicide letter, while a voice-over by Gooding, Jr. narrates. The second shows the police chasing Simpson's white Ford Bronco, while dozens of fans cheer for him.[43]

The first full trailer was released in December, along with a poster for the season. The trailer included a suicide attempt on the part of Simpson, in the childhood bedroom of Kim Kardashian, while Robert Kardashian tries to stop him.[44]

EpisodesEdit

Season 1: The People v. O. J. Simpson (2016)Edit

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date Prod.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
1 "From the Ashes of Tragedy" Ryan Murphy Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski February 2, 2016 (2016-02-02) 1WAX01 5.12[45]
2 "The Run of His Life" Ryan Murphy Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski February 9, 2016 (2016-02-09) 1WAX02 3.90[46]
3 "The Dream Team" Anthony Hemingway D. V. DeVincentis February 16, 2016 (2016-02-16) 1WAX03 3.34[47]
4 "100% Not Guilty" Anthony Hemingway Maya Forbes & Wallace Wolodarsky and
Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
February 23, 2016 (2016-02-23) 1WAX04 3.00[48]
5 "The Race Card" John Singleton Joe Robert Cole March 1, 2016 (2016-03-01) 1WAX05 2.73[49]
6 "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" Ryan Murphy D. V. DeVincentis March 8, 2016 (2016-03-08) 1WAX06 3.00[50]
7 "Conspiracy Theories" Anthony Hemingway D. V. DeVincentis March 15, 2016 (2016-03-15) 1WAX07 2.89[51]
8 "A Jury in Jail" Anthony Hemingway Joe Robert Cole March 22, 2016 (2016-03-22) 1WAX08 2.91[52]
9 "Manna from Heaven" Anthony Hemingway Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski March 29, 2016 (2016-03-29) 1WAX09 2.76[53]
10 "The Verdict" Ryan Murphy Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski April 5, 2016 (2016-04-05) 1WAX10 3.27[54]

BroadcastEdit

The series first premiered worldwide in Canada on FX on February 2, 2016.[55] In the Philippines, the series premiered on February 3, 2016 on CT.[56] In India, the series premiered on STAR World Premiere HD on February 8, 2016. The series premiered on BBC Two in the United Kingdom on February 15, 2016.[57] In Israel the series premiered on February 22, 2016. In Australia, the series' first season was promoted as a "miniseries" under the title The People vs OJ Simpson and premiered on Network Ten on March 6, 2016 before concluding on May 8, 2016.[58] The series currently airs at 10:15pm on Thursdays on RTÉ One in Ireland.[59]

The first season was made available on Netflix in all countries except Canada and Germany in February 2017. All future seasons will be made available on Netflix following their respective broadcast windows.[60]

ReceptionEdit

The first season of American Crime Story has received critical acclaim. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the season an approval rating of 97%, based on 74 reviews, with an average rating of 8.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story brings top-shelf writing, directing, and acting to bear on a still-topical story while shedding further light on the facts – and provoking passionate responses along the way."[61] On Metacritic, the season has a score of 90 out of 100, based on 45 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[62]

Many critics have singled out many cast members for the performances, particularly Paulson, Brown, Schwimmer, and Vance.[63][64][65] Dan Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter praised Paulson and Vance's performances, writing: "As Clark's discomfort grows, Paulson's collection of tics seem more and more human[...] Vance's Cochran is sometimes hilarious, but he has a dynamic range such that he's occasionally introspective and always intelligent as well."[64] Brian Lowry of Variety praised the casting of the smaller roles, particularly Connie Britton as Faye Resnick and Nathan Lane as F. Lee Bailey.[66]

Despite the praise for the rest of the cast, Travolta's portrayal of Shapiro and Gooding's portrayal of Simpson have received mixed critical reviews. Brian Lowry of Variety called Travolta "awful" in the role, adding: "Yes, Shapiro spoke in stiff, measured tones, but the actor's overly mannered line readings turn the attorney into a buffoon, in sharp contrast to the more nuanced portrayals around him."[66] Nicole Jones of Vanity Fair called his performance "campy and calculated."[67] Dan Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter also criticized his performance, calling it "a mesmerizingly bad performance from the eyebrows down." Feinberg also observed: "His unnecessary accent varies by episode, and Travolta's laser intensity feels arch and almost kabuki at times, turning Shapiro into a terrifying character from the next American Horror Story installment, rather than a part of this ensemble."[64]

Maureen Ryan of Vanity Fair, conversely, became more impressed with Travolta as the season progressed: "I started in the realm of puzzled disbelief, arrived at amusement, and ultimately traveled to a place of sincere appreciation. You simply can’t take your eyes off Travolta, and that is a form of enchantment."[68] Elisabeth Garber-Paul of Rolling Stone also called it "arguably [Travolta's] best performance since Tarantino brought him back from the dead."[69] Robert Bianco of USA Today wrote that Travolta's was the show's "broadest performance."[70]

Dave Schilling of The Guardian panned Gooding's performance, writing: "his whiny, gravely voice sounds absolutely nothing like the real O. J. Simpson’s deep, commanding tones."[71] Michael Starr of New York Post was also highly critical of Gooding's performance, saying that he "portrays Simpson as a hollow, sad-sack cipher who speaks in a high-pitched whine and sleepwalks in a fog he never shakes after being arrested for the brutal double murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. He’s a forgettable, annoying presence in what should be a showcase role for Gooding — who, to be fair, is reciting lines written for him, so he can only do so much with the material."[72] Gooding's Emmy nomination for his work on the series was criticized by some reviewers.[73]

On the other hand, Joe McGovern was more positive on Gooding's performance, writing that his casting "takes a risk and pulls it off."[74] Elisabeth Garber-Paul of Rolling Stone described his performance as "an unnervingly believable take on a potential psychopath with teetering sanity."[69] Nick Venable of Cinema Blend also opined that Gooding's turn as Simpson "could indeed get him on a shortlist of Emmy nominees."[75]

RatingsEdit

American Horror Story: U.S. viewers per episode (millions)
 
Season Ep. 1 Ep. 2 Ep. 3 Ep. 4 Ep. 5 Ep. 6 Ep. 7 Ep. 8 Ep. 9 Ep. 10
The People v. O.J Simpson 5.12 3.90 3.34 3.00 2.73 3.00 2.89 2.91 2.76 3.27
The Assassination of Gianni Versace TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
3 N/A
Source: Nielsen Media Research[reference?]

AccoladesEdit

Association Category Nominated artist/work Result
5th Critics' Choice Television Awards[76]
Most Exciting New Series American Crime Story Won
7th Critics' Choice Television Awards
Best Movie/Miniseries The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won
Best Actor in a Movie or Miniseries Cuba Gooding Jr. Nominated
Courtney B. Vance Won
Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries Sarah Paulson Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries Sterling K. Brown Won
John Travolta Nominated
BET Awards 2016[77]
Best Actor Courtney B. Vance Nominated
74th Golden Globe Awards Best Miniseries or Television Film The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won
Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Courtney B. Vance Nominated
Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Sarah Paulson Won
Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Sterling K. Brown Nominated
John Travolta Nominated
68th Primetime Emmy Awards[78]
(68th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards)
Outstanding Limited Series The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Courtney B. Vance Won
Cuba Gooding Jr. Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Sarah Paulson Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Sterling K. Brown Won
David Schwimmer Nominated
John Travolta Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Ryan Murphy (for "From the Ashes of Tragedy") Nominated
John Singleton (for "The Race Card") Nominated
Anthony Hemingway (for "Manna from Heaven") Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski (for "From the Ashes of Tragedy") Nominated
Joe Robert Cole (for "The Race Card") Nominated
D. V. DeVincentis (for "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia") Won
Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series, Movie, or Special Jeanne McCarthy, Nicole Abellera Hallman, Courtney Bright, and Nicole Daniels Won
Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Series or Movie Nelson Cragg (for "From the Ashes of Tragedy") Nominated
Outstanding Costumes for a Period/Fantasy Series, Limited Series, or Movie Hala Bahmet, Marina Ray, and Elinor Bardach (for "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia") Nominated
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Limited Series or Movie Chris Clark, Natalie Driscoll, Shay Sanford-Fong, and Katrina Chevalier Won
Outstanding Makeup for a Limited Series or Movie (Non-Prosthetic) Eryn Krueger Mekash, Zoe Hay, Heather Plott, Deborah Huss Humphries, Luis Garcia, and Becky Cotton Nominated
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie Adam Penn (for "From the Ashes of Tragedy") Nominated
C. Chi-Yoon Chung (for "The Race Card") Won
Stewart Schill (for "The Verdict") Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited Series or Movie Doug Andham, Joe Earle, and John Bauman (for "From the Ashes of Tragedy") Won
32nd TCA Awards[79] Program of the Year The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Won
Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials Won
Individual Achievement in Drama Sarah Paulson Won
Courtney B. Vance Nominated

ReferencesEdit

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