Following the success of season 1 of American Crime Story: The People V. O.J. Simpson, which chronicled the infamous 1994 murders of Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ron Goldman and the subsequent Trial of O.J. Simpson in 1995, Ryan Murphy is preparing season 2 which will be subtitled Katrina and cover the 2005 hurricane that devastated the Gulf Coast of the U.S..
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Murphy will be drawing heavily from the 2007 book The Great Deluge by Douglas Brinkley, which tells the true tales of those who survived the disaster and became true heroes by further risking their lives in order to save the lives of others. Due to the depressing and emotional nature of the subject matter, some may fear that this new season will be nothing but sadness, and may not hold the attention of audiences as well as a controversial murder trial packed with celebrities. Murphy has addressed those concerns by stating that rather than focus solely on the pain and loss of Katrina, there will be an emphasis on the perseverance and heroism displayed by survivors. “It’s an amazing tragedy that you cannot believe happened in America. But along with the overwhelming horribleness and sadness, you also have amazing stories of [people] coming together,” said Murphy, “We’re laying into what do you do when you’re in a city and your government has abandoned you? You get out by climbing up and pulling up people with you, and to a large degree that’s what the miniseries is about. It’s not just what happened but heroic stories about people surviving — or in some cases, dying helping others.”
Murphy also discussed the key roles and potential casting for the new season. Cast members of the first season, including Cuban Gooding Jr., John Travolta, and Sarah Paulson, have already expressed interest in returning to the series, but Murphy has stated that nothing has been set regarding the cast for season 2 as he wants to have a full script to provide the actors before signing anyone on. In regards to having a majority of the former cast return, Murphy said “I don’t think it’s going to be like American Horror Story where you see almost the entire troupe return. You will see some people, but not all of them.” Murphy plans to cast actors for the roles of former president George W. Bush, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, then New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, and any other office holders and officials who played a pivotal role in the preparations and relief efforts for Katrina.
Season 2 will retain producers Nina Jacobson (The Hunger Games trilogy) and Brad Simpson (World War Z). Season 1 writer D.V. DeVincentis has also taken on a lead role in the writers room for season 2. Murphy has also stated that the new season may expand its episode count to 13 or 15, as Murphy claims the story is “sprawling”. “You’re following a cast of characters from before the storm hits to its aftermath, and that’s a big story.”