Getty/Josh Reynolds /The Boston Globe via AP, Pool
EXCLUSIVE: Jaylen Barron (Blindspotting) is set for a series regular role in Ryan Murphy’s American Sports Story, the FX anthology limited series whose first season is based on the podcast Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc., sources tell Deadline.
American Sports Story, a new extension of Murphy’s “American Story” franchise, focuses 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. It hails from the Boston Globe and Wondery.
From writer Stu Zicherman, the first installment charts the rise and fall of NFL superstar Aaron Hernandez, played by Josh Andrés Rivera, and explores the connections of the disparate strands of his identity, his family, his career, his suicide and their legacy in sports and American culture.
Barron will star as Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez’s fiancée and mother of their young daughter born in 2012, the same year they became engaged. The pair met as high school students in Connecticut and she stood by him amid all his legal issues including his arrest and conviction for the murder of Odin Lloyd, who at the time of the crime was dating Jenkins’s sister, Shaneah Jenkins.
It has been alleged that Hernandez had affairs with men while in a relationship with Jenkins, an aspect that will be explored in the anthology series. As Deadline revealed exclusively, Josh Cannavale is set to portray Hernandez’s love interest.
Other previously announced cast includes Catfish Jean, Tony Yazbeck, Lindsay Mendez and Patrick Schwarzenegger.
In addition to Zicherman, executive producers also include Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Alexis Martin Woodall and Brad Falchuk; Hernan Lopez and Marshall Lewy of Wondery; and Linda Pizutti Henry and Ira Napoliello of the Boston Globe.
Barron most recently starred in the Starz dramedy series Blindspotting in the role of Trish. She made her small screen debut in 2012 on an episode of Fox’s Bones followed by an appearance on the Disney Channel series Shake It Up! She landed a series regular role in Netflix’s Free Rein in 2017 reprising the role in two specials: The Twelve Neighs of Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Additional credits include See Dad Run for Nick at Night, Disney Channel’s Good Luck Charlie and Showtime’s Shameless.