How much is too much of the Kardashians? The producers of FX's upcoming O.J. Simpson miniseries, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, told reporters on Saturday, January 16, that the late Robert Kardashian's now-famous children will indeed be portrayed in the show, but they won't overstay their welcome.
Executive producer Scott Alexander told the audience at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena, California, that actors playing Kourtney, Kim and Khloé Kardashian and their brother Rob will only appear in a total of about five minutes of the 10-hour series. American Crime Story, premiering Tuesday, February 2, focuses on Simpson's 1995 murder trial, with David Schwimmer playing the Kardashian kids' father, attorney Robert, who represented the NFL Hall of Famer.
"We thought it would be valuable to have them there just for a little sprinkling," Alexander said. "There were a lot of themes that we wanted to hit in the scripts: the beginning of the 24-hour news cycle, the beginning of reality TV. And they were sort of emblematic of the beginning of this era, where someone like Kato Kaelin or Faye Resnick could become famous and no one was really sure why they were famous."
"And [Robert] Kardashian was such a wonderful character in terms of his conflict, in terms of his trying to be loyal to O.J. and trying to do the right thing," he continued. "Just a little bit of sprinkling of the family."
Executive producer Ryan Murphy pointed out that the question about the Kardashian daughters in the series comes up frequently at press events, which he understands, given the daughters' present-day superstardom.
"But in the 10 episodes, there are over 400 scenes that were written, and of those 400 scenes, only four or five of them involve the Kardashian children," Murphy said. "So I think that gives you a grasp on how important we felt they were to the story."
During the panel, Schwimmer praised Kris Jenner for speaking to him prior to the shoot about what Robert was like as a person, with the actor calling Jenner "incredibly generous with her time and very open about her relationship to Robert."
"I think the single greatest thing I got from her was the insight into how religious he was, how much a man of great faith he was, that he had a very personal, strong relationship to God — prayed every day, several times a day," Schwimmer said. "For me, it really helped inform the character and helped me understand the decisions he was making at the time, and the question that we all tried to explore was, 'Was that faith challenged, or did he have any kind of crisis of faith?'"
Schwimmer also discussed the fact that footage for the series was filmed in Robert Kardashian's actual home, including one scene included in a previously released trailer in which Simpson (Cuba Gooding Jr.) contemplates suicide in Kim's childhood bedroom. Shooting in the attorney's real home "brought it all home to us in a way that was chilling, frankly," Schwimmer said.
The cast also includes Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro, Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran and Selma Blair as Kris Kardashian (who went on to marry Caitlyn Jenner after her divorce from Robert).
American Crime Story premieres on FX on Tuesday, February 2, at 10 p.m. EST.
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