The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is poised to be FX's next big hit, but the family of slain fashion mogul Gianni Versace doesn't seem too thrilled…or do they?
In a statement from Versace, the family said, "The Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series about the death of Mr. Gianni Versace. 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 series stars Édgar Ramírez as Gianni Versace, Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, Penélope Cruz as Donatella Versace and Ricky Martin as Antonio D'Amico, and Cruz told E! News she spoke to Gianni's sister, Donatella, before taking the role—and heard from her recently.
"I have seen her over the years and she has always been very nice to me. I said to [Ryan Murphy], ‘Before I say yes I need to make this phone call,' so he knew I was going to call her. She said to me, that if somebody was going to do it, that if somebody was going to play her, that she was happy it was me. For me to hear those words was what made me make the decision, because I think in a way maybe she felt—she knew that I was going to put all the respect that I feel for her was going to be there," Cruz told Will Marfuggi at the premiere of the FX series.
Cruz said she'll find out soon if Donatella will watch—the show premieres on Wednesday, Jan. 17 on FX. Regarding the Versace statement, the Oscar winner said she would talk to Donatella directly about it. "She just sent me flowers yesterday..What I have seen [of the show]…is that it's treated with a lot of respect…Everybody else approached this from the same place of respect," she said.
FX Productions and Fox 21 Television Studios responded to the Versace statement and stood by the work of producers based on Maureen Orth's book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in US History.
"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.
Click play on the video above to hear more from The Assassination of Gianni Versace stars Cruz, Criss and Max Greenfield.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story premieres Wednesday, Jan. 17 on FX.