Sarah Paulson Says Prosecutor Marcia Clark 'Didn't Have the Skin' to Handle Scrutiny that Came with O.J. Simpson Case

"It's like walking into a battle without any armor," the actress says of Marcia Clark's involvement

Photo: FX

There’s always more to a story than what meets the eye.

In this case, Sarah Paulson – who plays the role of prosecuting attorney Marcia Clark in the upcoming FX series American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson– explains the real-life struggles Clark endured behind the scenes of the high-profile trial.

“Having two small children and a husband who betrayed her and the public nature of all that scrutiny, which she was completely ill prepared to handle, it’s like walking into a battle without any armor,” Paulson, 41, told reporters during the FX Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour on Saturday in Pasadena, California. “She just didn’t have the skin for it. She didn’t have any of that ‘razzle dazzle’ that [Johnnie] Cochran had and they all had. She just wasn’t designed as much for public life.”

When director Ryan Murphy approached her with the idea of playing Clark, Paulson admitted her hesitance.

“[I felt] both, sort of, elated and completely worried that I wasn’t going to be able to pull it off,” the American Horror Story actress said. “But there is a kind of magical thing that happens sometimes, which is when [creator Ryan Murphy] believes it, you sort of tend to believe it yourself.”

Though Murphy had complete confidence in Paulson’s ability, the actress said she came across many difficulties.

“It wasn’t easy to do, because when you immerse yourself into that world, it was sort of, there was a fine line between what felt like it was happening to me personally and what felt like it was happening to Marcia,” Paulson said.

“The most challenging part of it was just my own mental awareness that Marcia Clark walks the planet now, and that this is a real person I’m playing, and the responsibility of wanting to get it right,” she added. “And I had done so much research and watched so much footage and read so many books, as everybody did, that I came to really revere her, both as a legal mind and as a person. And the idea that I was going to be representing her somehow was really scary, a kind of heavy load to bear. ”

American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson premieres Feb. 2 at 10 p.m. ET on FX.

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