John Travolta is making a return to TV. It will be the first time he will appear on televisions screens in decades. His breakout role was in Welcome Back, Kotter, between 1975 and 1979.
The Grease star will play defense attorney Robert Shapiro in an upcoming miniseries about O.J. Simpson’s trial called American Crime Story. Robert Kardashian will be played by David Schwimmer, while Cuba Gooding Jr. has been cast as Simpson. Sarah Paulson, best known for her role in American Horror Story, has been cast as the prosecutor Marcia Clark.
Travolta is also taking producer credits for the 10-episode drama. It is expected to be the first series of a new true crime anthology series, which will change focus with each season. Many may not be surprised to hear that Ryan Murphy of American Horror Story is directing and executive producing the show.
His hit show American Horror Story is currently on its fourth season, and has already been picked up for a fifth season. Each year, the storyline changes, along with the time period. However, Murphy has admitted that all the seasons link in some way but has not confirmed how each one pieces together yet.
Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander are both writing the show, based on Jeffrey Toobin’s The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson. The series will look at the murder trial from Simpson’s lawyers’ perspective. It will bring out the maneuvering and dealings behind the scenes, while showing how the overconfidence from the prosecution and the LAPD’s history with African-American people within the community may have given the defense the reasonable doubt it needed.
Travolta is making a return to TV with this role. It will be the first time he has played a recurring role on a series since Welcome Back, Kotter, where he played Vinnie Barbarino. From the 1980s, he focused on movie roles and went on to act in Grease, Look Who’s Talking and Pulp Fiction.
Over the last few years, Travolta has taken some time off from acting, but seems ready to get back into the game. He did make an appearance on Kirstie Alley’s Kirstie recently, but that was just a one-off fictional role.
The series will air on FX, which is the same network that airs American Horror Story. If all goes well, there are plenty of other true crime stories for the writers to tell. Murphy likely already has a number of ideas moving forward should this 10-part series take off. Some publications are calling this a spin-off of American Horror Story, partially due to the name American Crime Story. A release date has not yet been shared, but the team will start filming this year.
So far, most of the main characters has been cast. The judge and jury foreman have not been announced at the time of writing this. It is likely that the main characters now announced will have the most to do with the premise of the show, so it was important to get the best actors for the job. It marks Travolta’s return to TV after taking three decades off.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham
Photo by Laura Lee Dooley