Josh Andrés Rivera On The Challenge Of Playing Aaron Hernandez In ‘American Sports Story’

Josh Andrés Hernandez is preparing to dig into the mind of Aaron Hernandez for his upcoming role in Ryan Murphy’s American Sports Story.

The actor spoke with Deadline about preparing to portray the troubled former Patriots tight end at Monday’s Los Angeles premiere of the upcoming Hunger Games prequel, Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

More from Deadline

“It’s a story with a lot of factors, as I’m sure everybody with familiarity towards it knows. There’s the mental health factor, the crime factor, the money, the fame, all of these things,” he said. “As an actor, it’s kind of like it’s a dream to have something so, so juicy to dive into it.”

In addition to researching Hernandez and his history, Rivera is also working on bulking up to play the part of an offensive lineman.

“They’re trying to get me as big as I can be. NFL shape is a pretty tall order. They’re real big guys,” he added. “But it’s been a really, really unique and cool challenge to dive into. I’m really excited about it.”

Rivera’s casting was announced earlier this month alongside Patrick Schwarzenegger, who will play Hernandez’s University of Florida teammate and fellow former NFL star Tim Tebow. The season is based on the podcast Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc from the Boston Globe and Wondery.

American Sports Story, one of two new offshoots in Murphy’s “American Story” franchise alongside American Love Story, 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.

The first installment charts the rise and fall of NFL superstar Hernandez 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.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.