In FX’s miniseries The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, premiering Feb. 2, David Schwimmer (Friends) plays Simpson’s attorney and good friend Robert Kardashian. The attorney, of course, is also the late father of reality stars Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, and Robert, as well as the ex-husband to Kris Jenner. EW talked to Schwimmer about his phone call with Jenner and his opinions on this famous family.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Watching the show, I didn’t realize how close O.J. and Robert were.
DAVID SCHWIMMER: I was lucky enough to speak to Kris Jenner for a few hours. What I discovered about Robert was he was a man of great faith. He was a religious man. He had a very personal relationship with God. Prayed daily, before every meal, every meeting. I think that formed his sense of moral obligation to stay with O.J., and it wasn’t for him to judge.
What’s that like to go to someone like Kris Jenner and say, “I’m going to play your late husband”? Was that an awkward conversation?
It could’ve been but she was so warm and generous with her time. We spoke for a few hours in real detail because I wanted to know who he was as a husband and a father. He was a real family man and he had a lot of strong values and ethics. There’s a lot about him that I actually can identify and relate to with him, especially the loyalty.
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Your costar, Sarah Paulson, told me she feels almost a responsibility to give Marcia Clark her due and tell a side of her that hasn’t been seen. Do you feel the same way about Robert?
For sure. No one really knows who he was and his legacy is very different. Obviously, the Kardashian name is very different from who he was. I do feel a responsibility to try and honor him and who he was and his spirit.
Does it make you think differently about the Kardashians now? Do you have any sort of opinion on them now that you’re playing their father?
No. I don’t know any of them personally, so I don’t really have an opinion. I have a higher opinion of Kris Jenner because she was so lovely on the phone for two hours. I find it really interesting to just understand who he was and what they must have been like as young children with their father. That’s what I kind of focus on.
For more on The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands now.