D.V. DeVincentis Q&A: ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson’ writer
“We were very determined to be as accurate as possible,” explains writer D.V. DeVincentis as we chat via webcam (watch above) about his work on the TV adaptation of Jeffrey Tobin‘s bestseller “The People v. O.J. Simpson.” “There was no shortage of totally crazy things that were true,” he declares about this first installment of the FX anthology series “American Crime Story.” The 10-part series takes viewers inside the O.J. Simpson murder trial, which dominated the airwaves back in the mid 1990s and forever changed the 24-hour news cycle.
The writer credits executive producer Ryan Murphy with being “very, very focused about theme,” wanting each episode to have, “a really strong thematic drive.” The show covers a wide range of topics, including racism, sexism, the criminal justice system, and the world of entertainment. “We got to investigate a lot of things through that perspective.”
DeVincentis, who reaped both BAFTA and WGA bids for his adaptation of Nick Hornby‘s novel “High Fidelity” (2000), penned three episodes: “The Dream Team,” in which O.J.’s defense lawyers are assembled; “Conspiracy Theories,” which focuses on the infamous glove fitting; and “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia,” in which Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson), assigned to prosecute the case, deals with increasing media scrutiny. He submitted the latter for Emmy consideration.
Extensive research led him to conclude “I really got to know what Marcia Clark was like, and what she was up against, not just in the case, but in the world.” He believes, “the way that our society has dealt with working women, and the things that they’ve had to put up with has changed enough for the audience to look at this and go, ‘Oh my God’ because it’s not dissimilar enough now.”
He credits Paulson for being “an incredibly intelligent, incisive dramaturge,” noting, “she will take a page and go over it with me, and the conversation that we’ll have will create totally new ideas, or fine tune ideas. That’s what I love to do — give an actor everything they need to go and do the best.”