The cast for Ryan Murphy‘s upcoming anthology, American Sports Story, is beginning to fill out.
As first reported by IndieWire, Josh Andrés Rivera (Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes) is set to star in the upcoming series as Aaron Hernandez. The cast will also include Patrick Schwarzenegger, who will portray Tim Tebow, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and Hernandez’s teammate at the University of Florida. Per Deadline, the casting was done in early 2023 and prior to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike.
According to the network, Murphy’s new project is a “scripted anthological limited series focusing on a prominent event involving a sports figure and re-examines it through the prism of today’s world, telling that story from multiple perspectives.” Season one will focus on Hernandez, the convicted killer and former New England Patriots star who killed himself in prison.
The new anthology follows Murphy’s “American Horror Story” and “American Crime Story” on FX. Season one will be based on the Boston Globe and Wondery’s Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc. podcast.
Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the murder of Odin Lloyd when he was found dead in his cell on April 19, 2017. A prison official said the former Florida standout was discovered hanged in his cell by corrections officers at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts at approximately 3:05 a.m.
Patrick Schwarzenegger at the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 12, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California. – GettyTim Tebow celebrating a victory in October 2008. – Getty
Nearly three years after his death, Hernandez was the subject of an explosive three-part Netflix documentary dubbed The Mind of Aaron Hernandez. The doc chronicled the rise and fall of a gifted young athlete who became a household name for being involved in what is considered the most “infamous murder case involving an American athlete since O.J. Simpson.”
In 2013, after signing a five-year, $40 million contract with the Patriots, Hernandez was charged for murder. While on trial, he was also indicted for the double homicide of two Boston-area men. While he was acquitted for the latter, Hernandez was found guilty of first-degree murder in the Odin case and sentenced to serve life in prison.
The three-part series also raised questions about Hernandez’s sexuality, with a former friend and teammate, Dennis Sansoucie, claiming he and Hernandez engaged in a sexual relationship in high school. It also recounted how Hernandez’s sex life was investigated during his murder trial and was potentially going to be used against him.
Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, fiancée of the late athlete, told Good Morning America in January 2020 that Hernandez never expressed to her that he was gay or bisexual.