Ricky Martin spoke today to Gianni Versace’s longtime lover, Antonio D’Amico, who Martin portrays in FX’s 10-episode The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. This according to executive producer Ryan Murphy, talking to TV critics for the final Q&A of TCA.
D’Amico, who found the designer’s body on the front step of Versace’s Miami mansion, complained publicly he had not been consulted on the FX series. D’Amico gave an interview in which he blasted a “ridiculous” picture of Ricky Martin “holding the body in his arms.”
“Maybe it’s the director’s poetic license, but that is not how I reacted,” D’Amico had scoffed.
Murphy responded this afternoon.
“It’s hard to judge anything you’re watching based on a paparazzi photography which is what that was about,” Murphy told critics. “And when you’re doing a show like this you’re not doing a documentary, you’re doing a docu-drama. There are certain things you take liberty with.”
The famed fashion designer Versace (Edgar Ramirez) was fatally shot by serial killer Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss) in 1997. His killer committed suicide eight days later as a police manhunt closed in on him.
The project is not about how or why Versace was killed, so much as “why it was allowed to happen,” Murphy said, noting Versace’s killer is said to have killed at least five people, the designer being the last. “He did not have to die,” Murphy said, blaming police homophobia.
“It’s an interesting thing to examine, particularly with the president now and the world we live in,” Murphy said. “I thought it was topical and social, which a show at its best is.”
The word “assassination” is very deliberately used in the show name, Murphy said. “Assassination has a political overtone and denotes somebody talking a life to make a point.”
The show unfolds backwards, beginning with Versace’s murder. A sweeping, orchestrated opening nine minutes take place largely inside Versace’s Miami beach home. “He was a very important cultural figure; he lived outrageously and dangerously…and his life was opera,” the executive producer explained of the choice.
“I admired that and always did,” Murphy said. “I loved him and looked up to him, and was so proud and excited when he did that interview in the Advocate. At that time there weren’t a lot of people brave enough to live their lives in the open.”
“We were lucky enough to get in there and film that,” Murphy said of shooting in the home. “That’s his bedroom, his closet he built. It is an amazing opportunity to be able to go in there.”
Shooting that opening was emotional.
“The assassination was tough to shoot and we shot exactly on the step were he died,” Murphy explained. “He was something special and we paid tribute to him – to all of the victims who in many ways were forgotten and not talked about.”
The 10-episode Versace, from Fox 21 and FX Prods., is based on the book Vulgar Favors by Vanity Fair writer Maureen Orth.
In June, FX and Ryan Murphy reshuffled the order of the upcoming two installments of American Crime Story. The Assassination of Gianni Versace, moved into the No. 2 spot for the anthology franchise, with a premiere date tentatively slated for early 2018. Katrina, whose filming has been pushed to early 2018, will follow.