There's a funeral scene in the first episode of The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, airing Tuesday night, that is almost too gripping for words.
Kris Jenner, played by Selma Blair, stands next to Faye Resnik, played by Connie Britton, as the two dab their eyes while standing in the church pew, talking about their dear friend Nicole Brown Simpson's fear of her ex-husband O.J. and how they wish they'd "done something."
"It was right in front of us," Kris Jenner (Blair) whispers through tears. "He always had that temper. He'd be smiling and then she'd mention some guy and he'd start screaming."
"Did you ever see the pictures of her face after he laid into her?" Resnick (Britton) asks. "You know she hid them away, just in case something happened."
It's a rare moment for anyone who followed the O.J. Simpson story 20 years ago where the focus is solely and intimately on one of the victims, the loss of life and the friends she left behind, not the salacious and superfluous details that drew media attention around the world, like the bloody glove or Marcia Clark's hair. It's also a good indication of what this 10-part miniseries will bring you: The human side to the story that no one really knew.
The process of embodying Kris Jenner became deeply personal for Blair, who tells E! News what surprised her most about taking on the role in Ryan Murphy's much buzzed about FX miniseries is that—while most of the rest of her co-stars didn't meet their real-life counterparts—she developed a deep, close friendship with Kris Jenner.
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"When I started this little role, I was just so excited to be working with Ryan," Blair admits. "But I gained a friend that I cherish, I really do. She's a warm and generous and open and giving woman. And this was her best friend. This isn't a story about Kris Jenner, my character, but Nicole Brown Simpson was a young woman with a group of friends who loved her and I know Kris hopes this raises some awareness for domestic violence by revisiting this case and Nicole."
Blair was not only one of the only actors to meet her real-life counterpart (Sarah Paulson also met Marcia Clark and called it "one of the best days of my life"), she also did it well before filming, as she "coincidentally" ran into Kris the night after she got the job.
"She just told me really intimate sweet things about their friendship," Blair reveals, "and the guacamole that [Nicole] made and just things to make it really human to me. Because I watched the case when it happened and it was just nice to have little personal things to put in my back pocket. And to realize that Kris loved her."
The People v. O.J. Simpson's powerhouse cast includes John Travolta as O.J.'s defense attorney Robert Shapiro, Sarah Paulson as lead prosecutor Marcia Clark, Courtney B. Vance as O.J.'s defense attorney Johnnie Cochran and David Schwimmer as Kris Jenner's ex-husband and O.J.'s best friend and attorney, Robert Kardashian.
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For his part, Schwimmer says he never was told he looked like Robert Kardashian until he put the white streak in his hair, and then the resemblance was striking, but Blair reveals to E! News she had been told she looked like Kris Jenner even before getting cast.
"I have been told," Blair tells E! News. "We're both brunettes. But Kris has these really beautiful eyes and eyelashes and you know, I can't compare. That Kardashian face and that Kris Jenner face, it's pretty incredible."
"I'm a little longer in the tooth than she was then," Blair admits with a laugh. (Kris Jenner was 40 at the time of the O.J. trial; Blair is 43.) "It's hard because we're so used to seeing Kris Jenner, the whole look now, but back in the 90s, she wasn't so much into the eye makeup and the eyelashes. I can really do a good Kris Jenner now. But she still looks younger than me."
The Kardashian kids—Khloe, Kim, Kourtney and Rob—are only seen a handful of times throughout the entire series, and the first glimpse is in the same funeral scene, as mother Kris tells them to stop running.
Robert Kardashian, however, is in every episode and as his-costar Malcolm-Jamal Warner (A.C. Cowlings) put it: "David Schwimmer absolutely kills it. When I first saw him, it was like, ‘Oh. My. God.'"
The People v. O.J. Simpson premieres Tuesday night on FX.