The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story premieres February 2, 2016 and features an all star cast including Cuba Gooding Jr., John Travolta, Malcolm Jamal Warner and David Schwimmer.
Among the group is also fresh-faced Angel Parker, a scene stealer as famed celebrity attorney Shawn Chapman, one of O.J. Simpson’s “Dream Team” lawyers.
The season focuses on the murder trial of O. J. Simpson and is based on Jeffrey Toobin‘s The Run of His Life. It’s a shining and defining moment in Parker’s career, and we caught up with her to get a glimpse into the upcoming season and what we can expect from her character.
What’s it like for you playing the role of Shawn Chapman on The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story?
It’s such a dream come true to work on a project like this. As an LA native, I remember this case very well. It was a rich experience for me to dive into our recent history and play a woman like Shawn Chapman. She is a brilliant and beautiful woman, and this was the point in her career that she was really proving herself, much like myself.
What was it like spending time with the real Shawn Chapman? How did she influence the way you approached the role, and also what did she teach you about the case?
She was so lovely and generous with her time. I met her after we had been filming for a while, but when we finally met (after our hair dressers set us up!) I was more interested in her relationships and feelings than the facts of the case. All that I had researched and watched online. I wanted to know how she felt about the lawyers on the team and why she cried in court when the verdict was read. But mainly I just enjoyed her company and we talked about our similarities. We’re both from LA and even went to the same junior high. I met her family and we laughed a lot, over a bottle of rosé of course!
Why do you think the show makes for some excellent television?
It addresses some real issues that our culture is still dealing with today. Gender equality, #BlackLivesMatter, and the media’s appetite for reality and sensationalism. The cast is phenomenal, but we really get to the heart and truth of this real life case. Also, everything Ryan Murphy touches turns to gold. His shows always take risk and are executed on the highest level. It’s incredible.
You’ve been in a wide array of films and shows. What do you look for when it comes to scripts and projects you’d like to be part of?
I love playing multifaceted women with humor and heart. I don’t really care what world her story is told in. Just keep writing these women!
Tell us a little more about “The New Hollywood”—the diverse philanthropic women’s goal group where you’re a member.
We are a goal-oriented group of women who support each other to rise higher, shine brighter and give back. Comprised of women in the entertainment field, we set personal and professional goals and keep each other accountable. We also lend ourselves to many charities and some of us have started our own. I co-lead the mom group within The New Hollywood, aptly named “Wine and Cheerios.”
You’re set to star in The Blank Theatre’s “PSiLoveYouToo.” Tell us what we can expect from that production.
I love The Blank Theatre and all they do. This show reads aloud love letters written throughout time. It’s a very romantic and special show, always around Valentine’s Day, that I’ve been a part of the past two years. This year, I’m reading a letter an American slave wrote to his wife after she was sold to another plantation. I am the wife, receiving his letter, and reading it aloud. It’s a beautiful piece.
White Jacket: Dana Patrick
Hat: Amina Touray