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‘O.J.: Made in America’ Is a Full Portrait of History, Race and a Storied Athlete

Soon after FX’s acclaimed Ryan Murphy-produced American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, comes a 5-part documentary series from ESPN’s 30 for 30 which focuses on all aspects of O.J. Simpson’s life, including his storied career as an athlete. O.J.: Made in America premiered at Sundance and is now airing on ESPN.

“It’s funny because, in the initial conversation about it, I didn’t want to do it. Because, like everyone else my age, I was in college — I lived through it. I don’t need to spend so much time on this thing,” director Ezra Edelman tells Indiewire about the O.J. Simpson trial. “Then I thought about it, and with the time that was being offered for me to dig into it: ‘What are the things I am interested in?’ I’m interested in history, I’m interested in race, I’m interested in culture. This story has everything and I understand that you can’t tell without telling the story of the murder and the trial. The murder doesn’t mean much to me, like the whodunnit aspect doesn’t mean much to me. My philosophy was, you’ll get a sense of the way I feel about it when you watch the movie, but I’m interested in the story that predated it. I’m interested in everything that led up to that moment. That’s why there’s three hours before there is a murder, because there is a story of this guy’s life and it’s important to emotionally engage with him…I was interested in the story of race in Los Angeles. I was interested in the police department. I was interested in all of these things that went into the emotional connection to him as a character into this trial.”

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