Adapting The Juice: Performances of Legal Authority through Representations of the O.J. Simpson Trial
This thesis explores how legal authority is performed through film. While existing theories on adaptation, historical filmmaking, and genre are helpful in considering representations of court cases in film, this project considers how legality is unique in language and performance and how these unique qualities create a powerful force behind courtroom adaptations. To illustrate this force, I will explore contemporary adaptations of the O.J. Simpson trials: Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, Jay Z’s The Story of O.J., and O.J.: Made in America. In Chapter One I will use adaptation theory to understand the process by which a court case is transformed into film. Chapter Two interrogates how legal performance interacts with the works' respective genres: music video, documentary, and docudrama.
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