It's been over a year since Ryan Murphy's second anthology series, #AmericanCrimeStory, debuted on FX, and yet the show is still fresh in audiences' minds, enjoying continuous praise from both audiences and critics on the way to racking up two Golden Globes and over 40 other awards. The series was such a success for the cable network that they renewed it for three more seasons, each dealing with a true story using novels based on the incidents as source material.
The second season is set to debut in 2018 in order to allow more time to develop its source material for the big screen, the third season to debut six months after the finale, and the fourth is still in early pre-production and will most likely aim for a 2019 airing. With the recent announcement that Penelope Cruz will be portraying Donatella Versace in the third installment of the series, let's take a look at the upcoming seasons and their subject matters.
- Season: Two
- Release Year: 2018
The second season of American Crime Story is set to focus on the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans, covering various scandals that immediately followed the disaster, including the poor job by FEMA to provide fast assistance to the city. This season will use the novel The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast by Douglas Brinkley as its source material for the script and plot, as well as other research. Only a handful of cast members have been announced for the upcoming season, but there is already a lot of talent set to appear for #ACSKatrina.
Matthew Broderick - Michael D. Brown
Forever etched into film history with the legendary role of Ferris Bueller, #MatthewBroderick will never stop being a household name, and he looks to continue expanding his already impressive career by starring as Michael D. Brown in the next season of ACS.
Brown served as Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from 2003-2005, resigning shortly after his mishandling of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, which was seen by most, including local law enforcement and politicians, as incompetent. With all the controversy surrounding Brown, it's easy to see why Murphy chose to dive into this character, and though Broderick is more known for his comedic roles, his range in the dramatic department is strong to carry him through this important role.
Annette Bening - Kathleen Blanco
Well-known for her work in many independent dramedies of late, as well as her Oscar-nominated role in the 2000 drama American Beauty, #AnnetteBening is one of the most underrated yet thoroughly skilled dramatic actresses in the business, which makes her casting for the series all the better.
For Katrina, Bening will portray Kathleen Blanco, the former Governor of Louisiana who served from 2004-2008, during and after Hurricane Katrina. While Blanco was criticized by many of the state's residents for the slow response to the disaster, she was still seen as not at fault by many due to the even slower efforts made by FEMA to help the state. Blanco also oversaw the evacuation of 93 percent of the population of the city of New Orleans, in turn also coordinating efforts to rescue those who couldn't make it out.
Cuba Gooding Jr. - TBA
After falling out of the limelight for almost a decade in the mid '00s, #CubaGoodingJr. has spent the last few years making it back into the spotlight, especially thanks to the first installment in the ACS series, in which he earned multiple nominations, including an Emmy nomination, for his role as O.J. Simpson.
Clearly Gooding and Murphy clicked after working on O.J., as the 49-year-old actor would follow his ACS role with another small-screen major role in the sixth season of #AmericanHorrorStoryRoanoke, for which he received very positive reviews along with some of the other cast for their dual performances. It hasn't been announced yet who he will portray, but his dramatic talents already offer great promise for the role.
Sarah Paulson - TBA
She's been with Murphy since the beginning, and continues to stick with him, as #SarahPaulson will return for the second installment in the ACS series, marking her tenth small-screen collaboration with the anthology king. While having major appearances on short-lived shows early in her career, including American Gothic and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, it would be her first connection with Ryan Murphy in the debut season of American Horror Story that would truly relaunch her to fame, earning five Emmy nominations for her work and one win for her role as Marcia Clark on O.J. She also is currently holding an unassigned role in the season, but given her prior excellent work with Murphy, there's no doubt she will shine in Katrina.
Courtney B. Vance - TBA
While strictly movie audiences might not fully recognize the 57-year-old actor, those who immerse themselves the TV world will no doubt recognize #CourtneyBVance for his various roles in 12 different shows since the year 2000. While his most notable role prior to 2016 was as Assistant District Attorney Ron Carver on Law & Order: Criminal Intent for over 100 episodes, he has just reached a new high point in his career thanks to his role in the first installment of the ACS series as famous defense attorney Johnnie Cochran, earning an Emmy, an NAACP and Critics' Choice Television award for the role. He is the third actor from the debut season to return for the second installment without a set role, but after his powerful work in O.J., one can only wait in anticipation to see who he will play.
- Season: Three
- Release Year: 2018 (or early '19)
The third season of the true-crime anthology series is set to explore the murder of infamous fashion designer Gianni Versace by serial killer Andrew Cunanan as well as the failed manhunt by Miami police when Cunanan committed suicide eight days after killing Versace (his fifth victim). The series will take Maureen Orth's novel Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History as source material for the plot, and the mystery behind Cunanan's true motives will provide for great dramatic development and insights for the characters. While members of the previous seasons haven't stated as to whether or not they will return for the third installment in the series, three key cast members have been hired for #ACSVersace.
Darren Criss - Andrew Cunanan
Aside from holding a major role on the fan-favorite series Glee, along with a few minor but memorable appearances on American Horror Story: Hotel and The Flash, #DarrenCriss is an actor renowned for his theatrical work and songwriting more than his acting. This lack of any truly dark characters in his past filmography will make for a very interesting performance as he portrays Andrew Cunanan, the serial killer that murders Gianni Versace, along with four other people, before killing himself.
Penelope Cruz - Donatella Versace
Easily one of the most prominent Spanish actresses currently in the film business, #PenelopeCruz has yet to truly break into the TV world and looks to change that with the major role of Donatella Versace in the third season of ACS. Cruz has proven time and time again that she can pack a serious punch in the dramatic department, and with the serious role that comes with a sister brutally losing her brother and having to take over his empire is one that will need a hefty dramatic touch that Cruz can deliver.
Edgar Ramirez - Gianni Versace
He may not be Italian, but #EdgarRamirez is a phenomenal Venezuelan actor who, like Cruz, has yet to see his big break onto the small screen. The role of Gianni Versace will be a character that, if played correctly, will be a hit with audiences. The fashion designer's company has remained as one of the top high-end brands in the industry, and is still almost exclusively owned and operated by his family members, including sister Donatella, brother Santo, and niece Allegra. Versace was also an openly gay man during his lifetime, and he and his partner, Antonio D'Amico, both very well known at international parties. In a role that offers a lot of depth and room to shine, Ramirez's first major television role proves to be one he could truly fill the $4,000 shoes for.
Ricky Martin - Antonio D'Amico
Of the actors cast for the third season, #RickyMartin has the least amount of overall acting credits amongst the rest of the cast, however, that does not diminish his talent, as the few times Martin has performed in film and television, he has proved his worth and will seek to continue this proof in Versace. Martin will be playing Antonio D'Amico, the well-known romantic partner of Gianni Versace who also worked as a designer for the Versace Sport line during his time with Versace. After Versace's murder, D'Amico was left a pension of 50 million lire a month for the rest of his life and to live in any of Versace's homes he chooses, but the rest of the Versace family fought him on this, eventually negotiating to a fraction of the pension and restricted permissions to living in Gianni's houses. D'Amico's long relationship with Versace will be a pivotal aspect of the series, and Martin has a strength and emotion to him that make him the perfect choice for the role of D'Amico.
- Season: Four
- Release Year: TBA (2019 Predicted)
For the fourth season of American Crime Story, the writers plan to tackle the infamous scandal of Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton's affair during his presidency. The season will use the novel A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President by Jeffrey Toobin for source material on the events. Toobin's previous novel, "The Run of His Life: The People vs O.J. Simpson," served as the basis source material for the first season, with Toobin also serving as a key consultant to the writers on the first installment.
Murphy confirmed in an interview with E! Online in February that Paulson would also return for Lewinsky, but that she would not play Hillary Clinton. No news has been announced yet who else will star in cast, but there are rumors circulating from The Hollywood Reporter that a newcomer will portray the role of Lewinsky in the upcoming season.
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Are you looking forward to the upcoming seasons of American Crime Story? What were your thoughts on The People vs. O.J. Simpson? Do you like the cast for the upcoming seasons? Let us know in the comments below!