SHOW TRIAL

Why Cuba Good­ing Jr cel­e­brated when OJ Simp­son walked free from court

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - By ANNA CALD­WELL

WHEN Cuba Good­ing Jr was a young man watch­ing the OJ Simp­son trial, he was pretty sure that the foot­ball star had killed his wife. But de­spite that, he jumped for joy when Simp­son got off .

Be­cause for Good­ing Jr, this was not a ques­tion of guilt or in­no­cence — it was one about race.

“Back then I was like – yeah he prob­a­bly did it, but at least the cops didn’t get an­other black man,” Good­ing Jr says.

“They didn’t get us!” he raises his voice to make his point. “They got Rod­ney King. They got ev­ery­body else. But f--- ’ em, we fi­nally got even .” And so, for Good­ing Jr,

tak­ing on the role of OJ Simp­son in the new true crime pro­ject from Glee/

Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story showrun­ner Ryan Mur­phy is per­sonal.

Th­ese days, the ac­tor re­fuses to say whether he thinks the foot­ball star was guilty or in­no­cent.

“It changes,” he says of how opin­ion evolved dur­ing the film­ing of The Peo­ple Vs OJ Simp­son.

It’s been al­most 22 years since Amer­i­can foot­ball great OJ Simp­son was charged with the mur­der of his ex- wife Ni­cole Brown and her friend Ron Gold­man.

They were events that cap­tured the world. From Simp­son’s live tele­vised get­away dash in a white Bronco to day af­ter day of the trial, the world tuned in.

In the 10- part, star- stud­ded se­ries, Good­ing Jr gives one of his great­est per­for­mances as Simp­son, and is joined by John Tra­volta as lawyer Robert Shapiro, Sarah Paulson as pros­e­cu­tor Mar­cia Clark and David Schwimmer as Simp­son’s friend Robert Kar­dashian.

The pro­duc­ers say they wanted the show to open a con­ver­sa­tion about race.

“This is a 10- hour trailer for black lives mat­ter,” says Jeff Toobin, the au­thor who penned the book on which the se­ries is based. It’s this el­e­ment that makes The

Peo­ple Vs OJ Simp­son so rel­e­vant to mod­ern so­ci­ety, where the ques­tion of race and its re­la­tion­ship to treat­ment in the jus­tice sys­tem is still per­ti­nent.

The other mod­ern rel­e­vance is, of course, the Kar­dashi­ans.

This was the trial that launched Robert Kar­dashian and his fam­ily into the pub­lic eye – so ex­pect sev­eral ref­er­ences to young Kar­dashian chil­dren with no idea about the life that lies ahead.

Then, there’s John Tra­volta’s em­bod­i­ment of celebrity lawyer Robert Shapiro.

Tra­volta was drawn to the char­ac­ter’s well doc­u­mented ego and says he drew in­spi­ra­tion from ego­cen­tric play­ers he’d known in show busi­ness.

“I knew men like him my whole life. He’s so fa­mil­iar. For 40 years of my ca­reer all I did was watch th­ese kinda guys op­er­ate,” Tra­volta says, nam­ing for­mer Paramount boss Robert Evans.

“Yes it’s Robert Shapiro but it’s also a lot of peo­ple we know.

“The ego­cen­tric self- serv­ing du­al­i­ties are amaz­ing and fun to play … but there are se­ri­ous faults with th­ese char­ac­ters. I can name about 12 peo­ple ( like) this char­ac­ter. I just said Robert Evans be­cause he’s the old­est and he’ll be the least off ended,” Tra­volta jokes.

THE PEO­PLE VS OJ SIMP­SON

TDT, TO­DAY, 8.30PM

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