What’s most surprising about the O.J. Simpson trial is, two decades later, how fresh it feels.
That’s remarkably clear in the new trailer for ESPN’s seven-and-a-half-hour “30 for 30” documentary, “O.J.: Made in America.”
The doc miniseries, which will air in five parts starting in June, follows FX’s provocative “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” and further delves into the backdrop of race and class in the Simpson story.
As the trailer indicates, “O.J.” will contain unprecedented footage, from Simpson’s earliest years on the football field to his recorded conversations, as well as shots of riots and police violence, including the Rodney King beating. Nina Simone’s powerful “Sinnerman” playing in the background drives home the drama. The experience of watching it is chilling.
In the face of Black Lives Matter and protests over police abuse, the context is essential. The way we looked at the Simpson story in 1994 is not how we look at it now.
“O.J.: Made in America” was hailed by critics when it showed at Sundance in January. Business Insider’s Jason Guerrasio called it a “masterful documentary that unpacks Simpson’s life story.”
The doc’s director, Ezra Edelman, told People magazine, which premiered the trailer, that the film is about much more than the murder case, for which Simpson was ultimately found not guilty, and which most people seem decided on anyway.
“It is a much bigger story,” Edelman said. “One that explores O.J.’s life and how race and his pursuit of celebrity shaped it … while at the same time documenting the racial dynamics of L.A. and the relationship between its police force and black citizens – a relationship thrust front and center into the discussion of the murders, and one that proved a vital determinant in the outcome of the trial.”
The five-part documentary will premiere its opening episode on ABC on June 11 at 9 p.m. ET. It will then re-air with all five parts starting June 14 on ESPN.
Watch the trailer for ‘O.J.: Made in America’ below: