PAULSON’S PROMISE TO DO OJ ROLE JUSTICE
Sarah Paulson was laughing and crying all at once when she first put on one of the four wigs she needed to play Marcia Clark, the famed prosecutor in the OJ Simpson case.
“It was one of those moments as an actor where you’re like — you’ve got to leave your vanity at the door,” she says.
“You’ve just got to hang it up, because this is a woman for whom that reality was not at the forefront of her mind.”
And so Paulson found herself caught up in Clark’s quest for justice as the prosecutor grappled with being hammered internationally over her looks.
Almost 22 years after footballer OJ Simpson was charged with the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman, Ryan Murphy ( American Horror Story) has recreated the trial with a cast including Cuba Gooding Jr as Simpson, John Travolta as lawyer Robert Shapiro and David Schwimmer as Simpson’s friend Robert Kardashian.
Paulson met Clark to speak with her about the role.
“You feel a very big responsibility,” she says of playing a real person. “At the crux of it, which is the heartbeat of Marcia’s march step, was justice for these victims.”
Paulson says she was struck by how the scrutiny affected Clark, who as a lawyer was not used to media attention.
“Marcia was a public servant, she was not used to being in the public eye. This is the first time someone is going, ‘Your skirt is bad, your hair is bad’,” Paulson says.
Paulson was a teenager in Brooklyn when the OJ Simpson story broke. She remembers watching TV with a friend when the story ran across the screen.
“We knew OJ from the Naked Gun movies, we were not football people, we were girls in school,” she says.
Now, she’s appalled that she was so dismissive: “I was too young to appreciate the value of it in the moment … which now I’m quite horrified about.”
THE PEOPLE v OJ SIMPSON, TEN, SUNDAY, 8.30PM