It may seem too soon to be concerned about the cast of American Crime Story Season 3 since Season 2 is just wrapping up on March 21, but you're actually just channeling creator Ryan Murphy — who is inevitably already thinking about the next installment, plus a gazillion other projects. Out of Murphy's three anthology series — American Horror Story, American Crime Story, and Feud — Crime Story may be on the most uncertain ground.
TVGuide.com reported that even FX's chief executive officer John Landgraf said he doesn't know what subject will be next for ACS at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in January 2018. The most likely topic (or the one there is the most information about) for Season 3 is Hurricane Katrina — and if that's the case, only one, very predictable, person has been cast so far.
The finale of The Assassination Of Gianni Versace airs on March 21, so it's time to say goodbye to Darren Criss' chilling performance as Andrew Cunanan and look forward to what Murphy plans to do for Season 3. While it's far from official, one of the major contenders for the theme of the third American Crime Story is Hurricane Katrina. As Variety reported, Versace was set to be Season 3 with the Katrina storyline to be Season 2, but the showrunners swapped the order. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that, in the original plan, the Katrina season was going to be based on the book The Great Deluge by Douglas Brinkley. Dennis Quaid, Annette Bening, and Matthew Broderick were set to be in it, along with some recurring Murphy TV favorites. Bening had previously worked with Murphy on the film Running With Scissors.
But in August 2017, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the source material for the Katrina season was changed to be the book Five Days At Memorial by Sheri Fink. Not only did that explain why the Katrina storyline was pushed to a future season, but it also meant a major cast adjustment. With the scope of the project changing, Quaid as President George W. Bush, Bening as former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, and Broderick as former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown were no longer needed. The only actor to have been confirmed to stay on after the switch was none other than Murphy's favorite go-to actor — Sarah Paulson.
Rather than cover the entire Hurricane Katrina tragedy, American Crime Story will look at what occurred at the Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans. The patients and staff were stuck in the hospital without power for days, and NPR reported that some staff allegedly discussed euthanizing critically ill patients. Unlike in previous ACS seasons, most of the characters will not be well-known to the public. Paulson will play Dr. Anna Pou, who was reportedly a part of those euthanasia discussions.
As for the rest of the cast, that's very much up in the open — especially considering that, unlike in American Horror Story, there wasn't much overlap of actors between the first two installments of American Crime Story. In fact, even though Versace has some Murphy veterans in Darren Criss, Finn Wittrock, and Max Greenfield, only background actors were in both O.J. and Versace, according to IMDb. Like Chuck Ashworth, who played the bailiff in O.J. and was an uncredited police officer in Versace. And Claude Knowlton, who was a doctor in O.J. and an uncredited "scared man" in Versace.
There are more actors with bit parts that have pulled double duty, but the actor who had the largest roles in both seasons (and they were both relatively small) was Peggy Blow. She was Rosa Lopez — the housekeeper of O.J. Simpson's neighbor — in the "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" episode of O.J. and Miriam in Versace — the woman who works the front desk at the hotel that Cunanan stays at in Miami Beach.
Obviously, Murphy has no issues grabbing major movie stars — like Jessica Lange and Penélope Cruz — or having cast members return. So the Katrina cast for American Crime Story is likely to be as buzzy and full of Murphy favorites as the many other casts he has assembled. But with The Hollywood Reporter saying that the Katrina season isn't going to be in production until spring 2019, you might have to wait a bit. And who knows? Perhaps the Monica Lewinsky season of American Crime Story will usurp the Katrina one. Then, fans can really let their imaginations run wild when it comes to the cast. But as Variety reported that Murphy has said that Paulson is his first choice for Linda Tripp, it seems that no matter what comes next for American Crime Story, you can expect to see Paulson return.