Versace family labels “unauthorised” American Crime Story starring Penelope Cruz a “work of fiction”

The next season, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, will tell the story of the Italian fashion designer's 1997 murder

Penelope Cruz in American Crime Story

The next series of American Crime Story examines the assassination of Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace – but the Versace family has distanced itself from the show, insisting that it is an unauthorised “work of fiction”.

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Ryan Murphy’s next instalment of the true crime TV series uses material from Maureen Orth’s book about the 1997 murder. It is set to air in the UK this year on BBC2.

Edgar Ramirez takes the lead as fashion designer Gianni Versace, Penelope Cruz portrays his sister Donatella, Ricky Martin plays his long-term partner Antonio D’Amico, and Glee’s Darren Criss stars as serial killer Andrew Cunanan.

In a statement, the family told The Hollywood Reporter: “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.”

American channel FX and producers Fox 21 responded in a statement: “Like the original American Crime Story series The People vs. O.J. Simpson, which was based on Jeffrey Toobin’s nonfiction 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.”

Cunanan shot and killed Versace, who was openly gay, in front of his Miami Beach house. The series will explore serial killer Cunanan’s mind and the state of his mind as his killing spree began, with four men murdered over a few months in 1997 in San Diego, Florida, San Francisco and New Jersey. We’ll see the his life in the San Diego gay community in the run-up to the crimes, as well as the homophobia present in the culture of the time.

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American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace will air on BBC2 in 2018