FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story recreated one of the most iconic and pivotal moments of the infamous saga in its latest episode: Simpson’s White Bronco chase with the LAPD. It’s an incredible sequence, directed by executive producer Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story) and featuring riveting performances by Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson and Malcolm Jamal-Warner as friend Al Cowlings. And the entire chase was shot on a Pasadena freeway over the course of two days.
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“It was probably the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever directed because it was so complex,” Murphy tells EW. “It was the thing that drove the production team to a nervous breakdown. I always said I’m most interested in what people don’t know. So we started in the car and we got all of Malcolm and Cuba’s performances first and I wouldn’t move on until we got that. And once we got that we built outwards and did the chase, the aerials and the 200 police officers and all of that. On the last minute of shooting on the second day, we got the very last shot we needed. So it was very nerve-wracking. But in L.A., historically, you can’t close down a freeway!
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence and the fact that we got them to agree was a miracle and we spent over a year [trying to get permission for] it.”
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Gooding Jr. has some of his most dramatic moments in this episode and admits the entire sequence was “surreal.” He adds, “There were four accidents during the day because people were so blown away by seeing what they saw and then they would get into accidents. It was just surreal to shoot that stuff, and then, of course, being in the emotional mindset my character had to be in, it was draining but exhilarating.”
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.