What did the woman behind Johnnie Cochran have to do with him taking that case?
It’s been an adrenaline-packed ride for the first two episodes of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. The legendary lawyer who took on the impossible in defending O.J. Simpson is no longer here to share his reasons for doing so, but actress Keesha Sharp – who portrays Cochran’s wife in the FX show documenting the famous 1994 murder trial – has her thoughts.
“For my character Dale Cochran, you didn’t realize she was the woman holding up Johnnie,” says the actress. “She’s the one who encouraged him to take the case otherwise he wasn’t going to.”
Though Sharp did not discuss the role with Dale prior to shooting the series, she would love to her thoughts about the series.
“With Dale, one thing that Ryan didn’t want us to do was talk to the people that we were portraying because sometimes that can get in the way,” she said. “You are starting to portray someone instead of just reading what the script is and being true to the script and therefore portraying this person from a true place. So, I did not meet her but I really would love to meet her now.”
As for how she actually prepared for the role, it sounds like the preparation involved something akin to an expansive term paper.
“I got as much information as I could, I looked her up, who she was, I know she was a professional, executive and all those things and from that point on it was putting myself there as an actor,” Sharp said, continuing on with what she needed to know to bring the character to life. “Who am I in this role and who is this woman holding up this man Johnnie Cochran to take such a case where it looked so hopeless. I mean he was going to jail, I mean he was in the Bronco with a gun you know? It looked like he was a goner. But Johnnie saw something and Dale saw something to say ‘no, I think you can do this. You Johnnie, if anybody can do this you can.”
Though Sharp has her opinion on whether or not O.J. was guilty, she’s certain that was not what the case was about for the Cochran’s.
“Now as an adult, knowing all the information I know and watching everything I could about this case, even from the civil case, I was convinced that he had done,’ she said. “But I felt like the case wasn’t about that. The case became about the brutality that African American people even today are dealing with. I saw police officers, not all, not even the majority, but those small number of bad ones exist so I think the case became about that for Johnnie not about his innocence or guilt but it became about police brutality.”