Penélope Cruz has been tapped to star as Donatella Versace, the sister of murdered fashion designer Gianni Versace, in Versace: American Crime Story, the third installment in the Emmy-winning anthology series from Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson.
Donatella Versace is a central character in Versace, with the role attracting A-list actresses looking to work with Murphy. Cruz will star opposite Edgar Ramirez and Darren Criss in the 10-episode limited series, which examines the shocking July 1997 assassination of Gianni Versace (Ramirez) on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion by sociopath and serial killer Andrew Cunanan (Criss).
Versace, from Fox 21 and FX Prods., is based on the book Vulgar Favors by Vanity Fair writer Maureen Orth. Tom Rob Smith is writing the first two and multiple subsequent episodes, and Murphy, who received an Emmy nomination for directing the opening episode of The People v. O.J. Simpson, will direct the first hour. Versace will begin production in April in Los Angeles and Miami for a 2018 premiere. It will follow the second installment in the franchise, Katrina: American Crime Story.
American Crime Story’s core producing team — Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, all Emmy winners for People v O.J. Simpson as Best Limited Series — executive produce Versace alongside Smith.
This marks the U.S. television debut for Cruz, who won an Oscar in 2009 for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. In 2016, she finished production on Escobar and Murder on the Orient Express. Cruz is repped by CAA, Untitled Entertainment and Katrina Bayonas (management in Spain).