The writers room has just started working on Katrina: American Crime Story, EP Brad Simpson told TV critics today, adding that The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story EP/writer D.V. DeVincentis is working with Ryan Murphy on the next project in FX’s ACS franchise. But Simpson said, disappointingly, “I’m not going to make any big news,” when asked about the next iteration during a TCA panel for the freshman one on the trial of the century.
“Yes, you will have famous people, and also the people who weren’t famous during Katrina,” Simpson said. “Looking at it, thematically, it will be incredible different” than the O.J. project, calling ACS a franchise that “morphs based on the crime.”
“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 said. 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.
Katrina “was something predictable we weren’t prepared for, even though we knew it was going to happen,” Simpson said. The Katrina season of ACS will put a lens on America “and show some uncomfortable truths about it.”
And as for suggestions they do an epilogue to the O.J. trial, focusing on the former football star/NBC Sports figure’s life, Simpson said: “We’ve been pitched that. We don’t want to overstay our welcome. This was closed off.” An epilogue, he said, would be “just about O.J.,” unlike the series that wrapped in April, which Simpson called Altman-esque in its ensemble. “I think the case is closed for us on O.J.’
Many of the original cast of American Crime Story‘s debut season — The People v. O.J. Simpson — are expected to reassemble for the next chapter in the Murphy-produced anthology show. Producers Nina Jacobson and Simpson confirm to Awardsline that writers went to New Orleans on a research trip for Season 2, which will tell of the American response to Hurricane Katrina. And O.J’s Marcia Clark, Sarah Paulson, says she intends to return to the series. “The Katrina story, to me, is a literal American crime,” Paulson told Deadline. “It says something about a uniquely American attitude, and I find it incredibly potent.” The plan, as with Murphy’s other anthology series American Horror Story and Scream Queens, is to get as many as possible of the cast from The People v. O.J. Simpson. John Travolta, who played attorney Robert Shapiro on the O.J. series and flew to Louisiana after Katrina to assist in the rescue effort, already has expressed his interest.
Anthony D’Alessandro contributed to this report.