I know we didn’t cover it in as much depth as I would have liked (hey, I can only watch/write so much), but The People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story was an expert retelling of one of the most sensational manhunts and subsequent trials in modern history. Showrunner Ryan Murphy had already earmarked the project as an anthology franchise, and some months ago news broke that the next story would be based in New Orleans, around the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (see our original story here). Now we have a bit more information.
Executive producer, Brad Simpson, has been speaking with the media ahead of the first writing room session and, even though he warned there was no great news to reveal, he did reveal some more flesh on the bones.
He spoke to Deadline:
Yes, you will have famous people, and also the people who weren’t famous during Katrina. Looking at it, thematically, it will be incredibly different [than the O.J. project]
It’s going to be about two things: the intensity of what it was like to be on the ground in that pressure cooker and also the bigger crime.
He also said that Katrina was, “something predictable we weren’t prepared for, even though we knew it was going to happen” and that the series will “show some uncomfortable truths about it.”
The 2005 hurricane was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history and at least 1,245 people died in the storm and subsequent flooding – mostly because of the more than 50 breaches in New Orleans’ woefully inadequate hurricane surge protection. This horrific event was not only the reason why hundreds of people lost their lives, but also created a terrifying atmosphere of lawlessness. It also created an incredible city-wide spirit, in which the community came together to get through the ordeal and, subsequently, rebuild the city.
I’ll be interested to see how Murphy and Simpson and their team go about recreating this, the characters they create and they story they choose to tell. Most of the cast from the first series are slated to return for this series.