Ryan Murphy is talking about The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story with EW and he’s discussing everything from casting the role of Donatella to why he felt like now was the right time to tell this story in the manner in which he’s approaching it.
He said the hardest role to cast in the series was that of Donatella. He says he needed someone to play the role with humanity and to understand her importance in the story. He chose Penelope Cruz to take on Donatella and he’s more than happy with the decision.
‘Penelope’s portrayal is very real and human. I think Penelope is to Donatella what Sarah Paulson is to Marcia Clark. I think people have marginalized and under-appreciated Donatella. I thought the interesting parallel is that Marcia Clark was an advocate for Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson. I think Donatella was an advocate for Versace and his legacy and his heart.‘
Cruz also spoke about the role herself and said that she actually reached out to Donatella before fully committing to her portrayal.
‘I did have one conversation that was between she and I. I don’t want to say the details, but it was a long conversation. 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.‘
The one thing Donatella didn’t want from the film was for her children, especially Allegra, to be exploited and Murphy was happy to remove that from the mini-series. He totally understood and respected her decision.
In terms of the mini-series and why this story needed to be told now, Murphy touched on that as well. Murphy doesn’t stay quiet about political and social issues, it’s part of why people admire him so much. He’s open in what he knows we’re capable of as people and he doesn’t shy away from situations, people, or circumstances that promote inequality, homophobia, or anything else that holds a group of people below others because of who they are.
He also says that he was ‘startled’ by the fact that Versace’s murderer was really only able to get away with the crime because of homophobia, and that right now, our country is living in fear again. It was the right time to do this, Murphy says.
‘I think it does open a discussion and I think it’s the perfect timing based on this president we have. One of the reasons I wanted to do this was I felt that Obama was a president who I revered. He was my president. I felt there was so much progress in terms of gay rights and rights for any marginalized group of people. Suddenly, it felt like Trump is inaugurated and the door closed and there’s fear again and they’re trying to take away everything that we fought for for so long. This is a bracing cold slap against the policies that the current government has. We celebrate gay people and gay creativity. So I think it’s the perfect time to put that on.‘
Will you be tuning into the mini-series? Do you agree with Murphy about the time being perfect to tell this story? Let us know.
‘…but I knew him’