Last night, we watched Malcolm-Jamal Warner recreate the iconic white Bronco scene on TV in FX’s breakout series, American Crime: The People Vs. OJ Simpson, and it seriously felt like we were reliving that day all over again.
Malcolm-Jamal plays AC Cowlings, OJ’s best friend, who was riding with him in the car that faithful day.
Hello Beautiful talked with the actor about how he prepared for the intense role.
“It’s very surreal, we were making television, but there’s something very surreal about seeing 20 cop cars behind you, lights flashing chasing you, especially being a Black man, feels pretty weird,” he recalled.
The 45-year-old explains that the adrenaline pumping scene, filmed over two days, took a lot out of him mentally and physically.
“It wasn’t just the cop cars, there’s the scene between me and Cuba. There’s a lot of emotion going on inside that car, and two days of that gets very draining.”
To prepare for the role, Malcolm dove into the duo’s tangled relationship.
“One person who is an international star, and the other friend is sort of in his shadow, that creates an interesting dynamic, and there were different levels of complexity in their dynamic,” he described.
Despite their varying levels of fame, the two men were on equal plains once they entered that white Bronco. Warner recalls watching the moment in real-time, while he was folding clothes,
“I remember everyone being glued to the television set wondering how is this thing is going to end? They weren’t driving fast enough to be trying to get away, [so we thought] are the police going to end up shooting inside the truck and killing them both? Which that was very plausible as well.”
Warner explained the intimate relationship the friends had with the police made the scene even more emotional.
Like, what police officer wants to shoot their athletic besties that they golf with?
At some point, AC identified himself to the police yelling, “You know who I am goddammnit! ”
“He was talking to the police,” Warner revealed, “OJ had a really wonderful relationship with the LAPD, and I’m sure being OJ’s best friend, AC also enjoyed a cool relationship with the police force.”
Of course, we all know how the story ends, but for two days, Warner had to channel the energy of not knowing, and that’s where good acting comes in.
When Theo isn’t in a getaway car on TV, the actor is performing bass guitar on stage.
The Grammy-award winner has an album out you should definitely cop called Selfless. Talk about a man of many talents!