UPDATED with FX statement, 12:16 PM: The family of slain fashion designer Gianna Versace has come out swinging against FX and Ryan Murphy’s upcoming installment of American Crime Story, calling it a “work of fiction” and saying it had not authorized and had no involvement in the anthology series.
FX responded with a statement this afternoon:
“Like the original American Crime Story series “The People Vs OJ Simpson,” which was based on Jeffrey Toobin’s non-fiction 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.”
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story bows January 19. The first season of ACS, 2016’s The People v. O.J. Simpson, was a critical and ratings success, scoring nine Emmys and a pair of Golden Globes.
“The Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series about the death of Mr. Gianni Versace,” the family said via the fashion house in a statement to media outlets today. “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.”
FX had no immediate comment when reached by Deadline this morning.
The book by Maureen Orth on which screenwriter Tom Rob Smith’s limited series is based, 1999’s Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianna Versace and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History, also was not authorized by the family.
The series from Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions delves into the events surrounding the murder of the iconic Italian designer, who was shot in front of his Miami Beach mansion in 1997. He was 50. The assailant was Andrew Cunanan, who killed five people in all during a spree that ended when he committed suicide as police were closing in on him a week after Versace’s killing. Edgar Ramirez stars as Versace, and Darren Criss plays Cunanan. Penelope Cruz and Ricky Martin co-star.
In November, Versace’s sister and Versace fashion house exec Donatella Versace told Deadline’s sister site WWD she had no intention of watching the series, in which Cruz plays her. “I spoke with Penélope,” she said. “She is a friend, she said she will treat me with respect — yes, but I don’t know what will be [shown], from a book that says incredible falsehoods.”
Murphy directed the first episode of ACS and executive produces with Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Brad Falchuk, Alexis Martin Woodall, Dan Minahan, Smith, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski.