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People v. O.J. Simpson: Sarah Paulson on playing Marcia Clark

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Mona Kuhn for W magazine

Fear and responsibility are what drove Sarah Paulson to join the critically acclaimed FX series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. In the August issue of W magazine, Paulson says “total abject terror” made her want to play Los Angeles district attorney Marcia Clark.

“The more I read about her, the more I felt a responsibility to get it right for her,” Paulson tells W. “I didn’t want this to be another opportunity to pile s— onto her and continue the sexism that went on during that trial.”

Portraying Marcia Clark in the first season of the true crime anthology series also changed her perception of both the trial and Clark herself. “It changed everything,” she says. “I was one of those women who didn’t like Marcia Clark. And that was based on believing what I was told by the media — that she was this total monster and a bulldog and so aggressive. It was really transformational to realize, God, I had it all wrong. Most people did.”

The August issue of W magazine also spotlights several other TV actors, including All the Way‘s Anthony Mackie, Ray Donovan‘s Liev Schreiber, Vinyl‘s Juno Temple, Westworlds Thandie Newton, and The Night Manager‘s Tom Hiddleston.

Mona Kuhn for W magazine

In HBO’s All The Way, Mackie plays Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., opposite Bryan Cranston, who portrays President Lyndon B. Johnson. “It was one of the most daunting experiences of my career,” says Mackie, who admits to having turned down the opportunity to play Dr. King several times before because the scripts never depicted Dr. King the way he saw him. “This script was the first time that I saw my Dr. King. He’s portrayed as a leader of the movement, not a saint.”

Mona Kuhn for W magazine

Newton, who is one of the stars of HBO’s mysterious sci-fi series, opens up to the magazine about an incident at an audition where a director was shooting up her skirt and asked her “to touch my tits and think about the guy making love to me in the scene.” A few years later, she found out that the director was showing the audition tape to his friends. “I realize now that we have to prepare our kids,” the mother of two daughters says. “So many people in our business, they don’t want to be the ones to say something that’s a bum out… But one person will read this and it will stop them getting sexually abused by a director. “

Mona Kuhn for W magazine

Temple spoke about filming a sex scene with James Jagger in the pilot for Vinyl, which was recently cancelled by HBO. “It was my 25th birthday, and I had to be completely naked with Mick Jagger’s son, being directed by Martin Scorsese. That’s a birthday, in my birthday suit, that I’ll never forget,” she says.

Mona Kuhn for W magazine

“The darkness” is the toughest part about playing Ray Donovan on the long running Showtime series, says Schreiber. “Ray carries a lot of tension and inner turmoil, and it’s not easy on your body to be in that state all the time. It’s like exercising every day, but you’re building up your emotional muscles around rage and sorrow and fear.”

 

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