(NEW YORK) — The critically acclaimed documentary O.J.: Made in America premieres tonight on ABC at 9 p.m. Eastern time. It’s split into five segments — parts two through five will air on ESPN in the subsequent week.
The film is directed by Ezra Edelman, who tells ABC Radio he took on the project because he had the ability to tell Simpson’s story — including his murder trial — at length.
“I could actually spend some time exploring the history of a city, the context, try to explain what happened during those two years,” he explains. “Why we arrived at that place, why people sort of lined up the way they did, why people responded the way they did to the verdict. That was the more interesting conversation to me. And without that time, it would have been a no-go for me.”
What was Edelman’s goal for the documentary? “If you have a greater empathy for all the people involved, if you have a greater understanding of why that trial played out the way it played out, if you have a greater empathy and understanding of who O.J. was as a character, then I think we did our job,” he says.
The country is clearly still fascinated with Simpson, based on FX’s recent American Crime Story miniseries on him. At first, Edelman says, he was upset that that program aired before his doc, but he eventually realized there was still room in the market for his work, too.
“What I clearly underestimated was our culture’s obsession with everything to do with O.J.,” he says.
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