While last season centred on the trial of OJ Simpson, the second series of true crime anthology American Crime Story delves into the mysterious assassination of Gianni Versace.
Yet the question isn’t who killed the Italian fashion designer or how. This story is all about why murderer Andrew Cunanan shot down Versace in July 1997 – and the manhunt that led to further bloodshed.
So, who are the main characters in the show? And who’s playing them? Here’s everything you need to know…
Edgar Ramirez plays Gianni Versace
Edgar Ramirez (L) and the real Gianni Versace (R)
In 1997, 50-year-old Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace was at the height of his powers. Head of the Versace fashion house worth a reported $807 million, he was a powerful influence on celebrity clothing choices and was friends with the likes of Elton John and Princess Diana. His last fashion show – a week before his death – saw supermodel Naomi Campbell showcase his latest collection.
Known for his flamboyant style, the openly gay Versace had an overtly sexual dress sense and much of his clothing was influenced by Greco-Roman art.
Versace was also close to his family, hiring his brother Santo as president and sister Donatella as vice president of his fashion house.
Who is Edgar Ramirez?
The Venezuelan actor has appeared in many foreign language screen projects, including French-German biopic series Carlos. However, there’s plenty of English-speaking films you might have seen him in: Ramirez starred as a CIA operative in the film Zero Dark Thirty, CIA assassin in The Bourne Ultimatum and Tony in Joy (alongside Jennifer Lawrence).
Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan
Darren Criss (L) and the real Andrew Cunanan (R)
Cunanan was the serial killer that allegedly murdered Versace outside his home on 15 July 1997. He was also allegedly responsible for the death of at least four others – including real estate developer Lee Miglin – and was added to the FBI’s ’10 Most Wanted Fugitives’ list the month before the Versace murder. But despite the effort to capture Cunanan, he decided to hide in clear site, residing in Miami Beach, Florida.
Cunanan had a reputation for befriending wealthy older men and boasting to impress those he knew in the LGBT community.
Who is Darren Criss?
Criss is best known for his role as Blaine Anderson in Glee and Toby in Little White Lie. He also co-wrote and starred as the lead in Harry Potter: The Musical.
Ricky Martin as Antonio D’Amico
Ricky Martin (L) and the real Antonio D’Amico (R)
Italian Antonio D’Amico was Gianni Versace’s partner for 15 years until Versace’s murder. Although a fashion designer who worked in the Versace family business, he reportedly had a difficult relationship with Versace’s sister, Donatella.
Who is Ricky Martin?
Let’s get this out of the way now: yes, he is the Puerto Rican singer of Livin’ la Vida Loca fame. The 46-year-old hit the big time after the 1999 single and in total Martin has released 10 solo albums since 1991.
However, its unlikely you’ve seen him acting before. Martin’s TV roles have mostly revolved around his music, most prominently when he became a coach on The Voice Australia. He did, however, act briefly in Glee and in Mexican TV drama Alcanzar Una Estrella (“To reach a star”) in the nineties.
Penelope Cruz plays Donatella Versace
Penelope Cruz (L) and the real Donatella Versace (R)
Fashion designer Donatella was close to her brother, Gianni. She took over the creative side of her brother’s business after his murder, becoming a fashion giant in her own right. As well as having friends like Kate Moss, Lady Gaga wrote a song (Donatella) about her and Donatella even appeared as herself in Zoolander.
Who is Penelope Cruz?
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for 2009’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Cruz has also picked up Best Actress Oscar nods for her roles in Volver and Nine. She also starred in Vanilla Sky, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Murder on the Orient Express and Zoolander 2.