American Crime Story: How accurate is it compared to the real O.J. Simpson trial? | EW.com
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TV | Winter TV Preview

Fact-checking The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story: How accurate is it?

(Ray Mickshaw/FX)

FX’s ambitious, riveting new miniseries The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story premieres next Tuesday and it presents a view of the titular trial that’s almost hard to believe. It’s safe to assume that some viewers will debate the accuracy of the portrayal of the behind-the-scenes aspects of the trial, but all involved in the production tell EW that it was meticulously researched and fact-checked by 20th Century Fox’s legal department.

The main source of the project is Jeffrey Toobin’s book The Run of His Life which was then adapted by screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (The People Vs. Larry Flynt). Due to the high-profile nature of the trial, not only did the production have copious amounts of video footage and media coverage as a base but also most of the main players wrote their own books about the experience.

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“I think we’re very proud to how close we stayed to the truth while creating drama out of recent history,” says Alexander. Due to time constraints of the 10-hour miniseries, there have been some aspects that were altered. Adds executive producer Brad Simpson (World War Z), “If we’re gonna get dinged, it’s because we have to consolidate things. It’s a dramatic retelling. We’ve consolidated time. We’ve consolidated characters. But in terms of the truth of what happened, I feel like we’ve been really honest.”

But even executive producer Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story), who also directed five of the 10 episodes, says that some of the loopier aspects of the trial even stopped him in his tracks. Admits Murphy, “You just can’t believe what the f— happened. Some of it is so absurd even I was like, ‘We have to check this again. I can’t believe this happened.’ ” 

For more on The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, pick up this week’s double issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands now