Versace Family Says The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Should Be Considered a "Work of Fiction"

FX's new series starring Édgar Ramírez as Gianni Versace and Penélope Cruz as Donatella Versace premieres January 17

By Chris Harnick Jan 08, 2018 5:56 PMTags
Watch: Edgar Ramirez on Playing Versace in "American Crime Story"

The family of late fashion designer Gianni Versace wants to make one thing clear about FX's upcoming series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story: It should be "considered as a work of fiction."

"The Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series about the death of Mr. Gianni Versace," an official statement from Versace read. "Since Versace did not authorize the book on which it is partly based nor has it taken part in the writing of the screenplay, this TV series should only be considered as a work of fiction."

The Assassination of Gianni Versace, executive produced by Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Brad Falchuk, Alexis Martin Woodall, Dan Minahan, Tom Rob Smith, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, is based on Maureen Orth's book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in US History.

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace: How the Cast Compares to Their Real-Life Counterparts

FX nor producers indicated the Versace family was involved with production on the show and responded in a statement.

"Like the original American Crime Story series The People v. O.J. Simpson, which was based on Jeffrey Toobin's non-fiction bestseller The Run of His Life, FX's follow-up The Assassination Of Gianni Versace is based on Maureen Orth's heavily researched and authenticated non-fiction best seller Vulgar Favors which examined the true life crime spree of Andrew Cunanan. We stand by the meticulous reporting of Ms. Orth," Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions said in a statement.

The series stars Édgar Ramírez as Gianni Versace, Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, Penélope Cruz as Donatella Versace and Ricky Martin as Antonio D'Amico. Ramírez told E! News while he didn't speak with anyone from the Versace family, he did talk to people who knew the late designer. "I had access to people who were very close to Gianni who were generous enough to open up to me and share their experiences with him," he told us at the 2018 TCA winter press tour. "That was very helpful…Not his family though, but people who were like family to him."

Ramírez said he was able to connect with the character because of family. "The easiest thing for me was his love for his family, who were at the core of his life," he said. "He was fundamentally a family guy and that's where i found the strongest connection to the character."

Cruz said she met with Donatella Versace before accepting the role.

"I did have one conversation that was between she and I," Cruz told Entertainment Weekly. "I don't want to say the details, but it was a long conversation."

The Oscar winner also has a history with the Versace fashion house and said it was important to talk to her. "That was very important to me. I think she knows that the way I'm playing her, that I truly love her and respect her."

According to Murphy, Donatella had a request. "She didn't want her children to be characters in the show or exploited, and I understood that, so we removed that element," he told EW. "Penélope's portrayal is very real and human. I think Penélope is to Donatella what Sarah [Paulson] is to Marcia Clark."

Request for comment regarding the Versace family's newest statement was not immediately returned.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story premieres Wednesday, Jan. 17 at 10 p.m. on FX.