‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story’ now on FX
As of Jan. 17, FX is broadcasting their newest “American Crime Story” limited series. “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” is a ten-part docudrama that traces the lives of the famed fashion designer and his mentally tormented assailant Andrew Cunanan. Recently, Ryan Murphy, who serves as the show’s producer, and the actors met with members of the media to discuss the series.
“I think it’s more than why he was killed,” Murphy said, in regard to the story. “It was sort of why it was allowed to happen. I think the thing about ‘American Crime Story’ is that we’re not just doing sort of a crime. We’re trying to sort of talk about a crime within a social idea. And this was always interesting to us because the idea was I think that Versace, who was [Cunanan’s] last victim, really did not have to die.”
When asked about the title of the series, Murphy said, “I think the word ‘assassination’ has a political overtone, and I think it denotes somebody who is taking the life of somebody else to make a point. And I think that’s exactly what Andrew Cunanan did and what he was trying to do, and that’s explored in the show. And the interesting thing that we’re doing with this show is we’re telling the story backwards. So the first episode obviously deals with the literal murder, assassination itself. And then we tell the story in reverse. So we really get into how he had that motive, and why he wanted to do what he wanted to do.”
Viewers can see the torment in Cunanan and his mental instability from the first episode, and as the weeks go by, they will see his madness grow as he begins his killing spree. Cunanan, a gay man, was disturbed by the treatment of gays in the 1980s and 1990s.
“I think that it’s very interesting how the story captures not only a very dramatic, amazing story that needs to be told, but how it captures the spirit of the time,” said Edgar Ramirez, who portrays Versace in the series.
The topics of gays in the military, AIDS and HIV, homophobia, and molestation are all part of the stories as Cunanan makes his way through life in an unusual way. The familial relationship between Gianni and his sister Donatella, played by Penelope Cruz, is a touching aspect of the story, as is the relationship between Gianni and his companion Antonio, played by Ricky Martin.
The writers combined information from books with their own dramatic interpretations of the people, making this a true docudrama and not simply a documentary. There are dramatic liberties taken and many things are not completely accurate.
As mentioned earlier by Murphy, the episodes are not in timeline order, which can lead to some confusion and make the episodes a little unnerving; however the story is definitely intriguing. It’s not until towards the end of the series when viewers see the childhoods of the two men. Their childhoods inform their adulthoods and serve as important elements in their personal careers and the lives they led.
Ramirez and Darren Criss (who plays Andrew Cunanan) both deserve award recognition for their efforts in this series.
“American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace” is the second in the franchise, following the Emmy award-winning “American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson.” It premiered Jan. 17 on FX.