The O. J. Simpson Story (1995)
Directed by Alan Smithee, this biopic contains many of the filmmaker’s notorious traits; a rushed script, melodramatic soundtrack, poor acting, laughable directorial flourishes and, most importantly, a finished product that any self-respecting filmmaker would want to disown.
Opening on the night of the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, the movie uses more flashbacks than a Scooby-Doo cartoon to tell the O.J. Simpson story. The first takes place when police question OJ about his relationship with Nicole, resulting in a depiction of their first meeting in 1977. Yet the bulk of the movie takes place in the home of OJ’s lawyer Robert Shapiro, whose clumsy question “Who are you” leads us to journey back to 1964, 1970, 1975, 1979, 1985 and 1989. Just when OJ seems to escape this black hole of time warps via his infamous slow car pursuit, he finds himself flashing back to a childhood meeting with baseball great Willie Mays. Little wonder that he, like the movie, runs out of juice long before the end credits roll.
Conceived by Rupert Murdoch who saw the biopic as a promotional platform for NFL telecasts, the movie was originally scheduled to air the week before O.J. Simpson’s trial began. However, after Shapiro raised concerns about the jury pool being tainted, the FOX network agreed to delay the telecast until after the trial had started. It eventually aired on January 31st 1995, one week after the trial began.
Biopic suggests the abuse that occurred on the morning of New Year’s Day 1989 was preceded by an argument over O.J. Simpson’s upcoming role in “The Naked Gun”, whereas the movie opened the month beforehand.
The scene that shows O.J. beating Nicole on New Year’s Day was originally much more violent than the final version that aired...
“[The police report] included details of punching her, hitting her on the kitchen floor, kicking her in the ribs… and when we shot that scene, I was standing there along with two other researchers making sure that everything was done exactly as reported.”
Robert Lovenheim (executive producer)
Though the biopic refers to Simpson’s roles in Capricorn One and The Naked Gun, it contains no scene recreations from his film career.