Whether or not you walked away from The People v. O.J. Simpson with a new opinion on the events of the 1995 trial, you did at least think one thing: Sarah Paulson and Sterling K. Brown are a dream team.
Their chemistry was one of the many elements that made FX’s critically acclaimed miniseries work as well as it did, and probably contributed to the Emmys that Brown, Paulson, and the series were all nominated for.
“Working with Sarah Paulson has been the highlight of my career thus far,” Brown told E! News after learning of his Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. “People would tell us while we were shooting that we had great chemistry, and I account that to the fact that I’m a very inquisitive person, Sarah is a very open person, and we just started talking from the beginning.”
That easy friendship mixed with romantic tension that we saw on screen was totally real, save maybe for any actual romance.
“You can’t really fake chemistry, either you have it or you don’t, and you can’t have a relationship on screen if you don’t have one off screen,” he says. “I love Sarah Paulson. I absolutely adore her. My wife has given me full permission to love Sarah Paulson, and I look forward to doing that for the rest of my life.”
The relationship between the two led to a lot of shipping of Marcia Clark and Chris Darden, even just jokingly, because it’s weird to root for actual people to date, right? Some of the series’ best moments were scenes between just the two of them, like that time they stared into each other’s eyes until we were all shouting “kiss! kiss!” at our screens.
“That’s the best, when nobody touches, nothing actually transpires, but it’s still able to elicit that kind of response, that’s my favorite,” Brown says of that particular scene, in which the two shared that moment after a night of drinking in Oakland. Director Anthony Hemingway encouraged them to keep teasing out that tension.
In one take of that scene, Brown decided to throw in a surprise that may make the biggest Marcia-Darden shippers very happy.
“I could tell, I was looking at her and I said, she doesn’t think I’m going to kiss her,” Brown says. “So one take—and hopefully it will make the outtakes of the show if people buy the DVD—I kissed her, and the look of shock and awe on her face, like her mouth just dropped open as I was kissing her. It was fantastic, and then I ruined the take because I went away!”
Let’s all just cross our fingers that he’s right, and that we will indeed get to see that sweet payoff on the DVD.
Brown can be seen in the new series This Is Us on NBC this fall, and the Emmys will air live from L.A.’s Microsoft Theater on Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. ET on ABC.