Award-winning actor Courtney B. Vance effortlessly embodies Johnnie Cochran in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, which debuts tonight on FX.
The limited series takes viewers inside the O.J. Simpson trial with a candid look at the battle to convict or acquit the NFL Football Fall of Fame inductee of a double homicide.
Based on the book The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin, the FX series stars Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson, David Schwimmer (Robert Kardashian), John Travolta (Robert Shapiro), Sara Paulson (Marcia Clarke), and Selma Blair (Kris Jenner).
According to early reviews, Vance shines brightest with his role as Cochran.
“Johnnie Cochran steals the show, just as he did in real life — Courtney B. Vance swaggers in style as the celebrity lawyer who sees this case as his biggest score,” according to Rolling Stone.
In an interview with theGrio, Vance says that he believes the Simpson trial was more about race than the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.
The People v. O.J. Simpson takes a deep dive into how the LAPD’s history with the city’s African-American community gave a jury what it needed to convict Simpson: reasonable doubt.
“This trail is about nothing else but race,” Vance said. “The prosecution didn’t understand the landscape. Johnnie Cochran, because he cut his teeth with police brutality cases against black men and black women, he knew exactly how to approach it. He knew that it wasn’t going to be about the abuse that she suffered at O.J.’s hands, he went about this case accordingly. He was ahead of the prosecution.”
When asked whether or not he believes O.J. Simpson was actually guilty, Vance said, “I wouldn’t want to know whether [O.J.] did it or not. It doesn’t matter to me. I wouldn’t even want to talk to him. The tragedy was what it was. I’m in pain over the whole thing.”
Be sure to watch the premiere of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story tonight at 10/9c on FX.