‘American Crime Story’ Actor David Schwimmer Saddened By ‘How Little We’ve Come’

David Schwimmer is best known for his Friends character Ross Geller, so it may be difficult to imagine him in a more serious role, and that may be exactly why he has taken on the role of Robert Kardashian in Ryan Murphy’s first season of American Crime Story. While Schwimmer hasn’t elaborated on that, he has said that the show, which will be an anthology similar to American Horror Story and will explore the O.J. Simpson trial for its first installment, gives a critical look back on our past. For the Friends star, this is both a blessing and a curse.

American Crime Story Actor David Schwimmer Comments On How Society Has Changed

Mr. Schwimmer was first given the opportunity to participate in the first season of the new anthology series when his agent, Gersh’s Leslie Siebert, sent him a copy of the script. David was immediately interested, partly because he wanted to be included in portraying a non-sensationalized look at the O.J. Simpson trial, but also because he was familiar with the people behind the project. Schwimmer was already a fan of Ryan Murphy’s previous projects, so that was really a no-brainer for him. Years ago, he had attended the same temple as American Crime Story’s producer Nina Jacobson.

Schwimmer says the most poignant observation to make as one watches, or creates, The People V. O.J. Simpson is how different things are since America tuned in to watch police chase that white Bronco across Los Angeles’ freeways.

“Yes, it’s entertainment, but I think the show does have the potential for people to reflect on where we are — how far and how little we’ve come.”

Schwimmer’s dismal comment may make a point in its apparent commentary on the current state of American society. While we may have advanced technologically, it sometimes seems that our social advancement has been stalled, or even may be de-evolving. Perhaps, though, these are merely growing pains as our species finds its way out of adolescence and into adulthood.

A Closer Look At The People V. O.J. Simpson And Robert Kardashian

The first American Crime Story season isn’t based directly on the trial itself but on the book Run of His Life, written by Jeffrey Toobin. In an effort to better understand the life of Robert Kardashian and his own portrayal of him, David Schwimmer read the source material, which included trial transcripts, as well as Toobin’s book. David wanted to better understand the relationship between Simpson and Kardashian.

“I didn’t realize the depth of his friendship and his history with O.J., so the questions for me became, ‘Why did he make the choice to stay by him? What did he believe and did those beliefs change?'” Schwimmer said. “It began a dialogue with me and Ryan and the writers about what was Kardashian’s arc and what was his journey? Once we all figured that out, it seemed like a really interesting role.”

His research led Schwimmer to discover that Robert Kardashian doesn’t at all resemble the opinion the public has of him. While many people may regard him based on the antics of his children, David says the real Robert had little to do with the media frenzy by which his last name is now known. Instead, he was a devoted father, a man of religion who prays at every meal, and generous almost to a fault.

Mr. Schwimmer did reveal that the Kardashian patriarch did have one weakness. Robert had a passion for driving the latest Rolls Royce model, having owned two of them. He didn’t specify which model came first, but Schwimmer did reveal that Kardashian owned one white and one black Rolls Royce.

American Crime Story is set to premiere on Tuesday, February 2 on FX.

[Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images]