Ezra Edelman, Peabody- and Emmy-winning director of the ESPN documentary event series O.J.: Made In America, came to TCA today to explain his take on the football star-turned-TV personality-turned-murder suspect is a “story of race and celebrity in America.” It touches on Simpson’s life “as a whole, but it’s also a story about the city of Los Angeles and race going back to the ’50s and ’60s.” The concurrent narrative intersects with the stabbing deaths of Nicole Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994 and Simpson’s sensational trial.
To what degree will the Kardashians be featured in this documentary series? One reporter asked just that, to the delight of some and horror of others. The question was prefaced with an apology, in which the reporter began by saying he “hesitates to ask” – which might be a TCA first, attendees being a fairly shameless crowd.
“Not that much,” Edelman said, resisting the urge to make some more searing remark, to his credit. Robert Kardashian, O.J. pal and defense attorney during his 1995 murder trial, is the late father of Kim, Kourtney, Khloe and Rob and husband of Kris Kardashian (nee Houghton, later Jenner).
“He, for me, was not one of the more focal characters” of the trial, Edelman said, which would have to suffice on the subject.
Edelman did not score an interview with Simpson or with Judge Lance Ito. But he did interview Marcia Clark, who was head prosecutor in the murder case. Ditto the helicopter pilot who found O.J. in his white Bronco, leading to the riveting slow-speed chase by LAPD, and the SWAT team member who talked Simpson out of the vehicle.
Clark, Edelman said, has “made her peace” with Simpson’s trial and acquittal, speculating that she agreed to the interview in order to impart her “narrative” because “it was going to be about her whether she liked it or not.”
O.J.: Made In America is set to air on ESPN over five nights in June as part of the network’s 30 For 30 franchise.