EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of the highly-rated People v. O.J. Simpson first installment of American Crime Story dominating the long-form Emmy categories with 10 wins, including best limited series, Ryan Murphy’s anthology series has been renewed for a third season by FX, I have learned.
Everyone is keeping mum on details but I understand that the title of the new 10-episode installment will be Versace/Cunanan and will examine the shocking July 1997 assassination of legendary designer Gianni Versace on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion by sociopath and serial killer Andrew Cunanan, who eight days later killed himself in a house boat as the Miami Dade police force moved in to capture him. Versace was his fifth and final victim.
Versace/Cunanan:American Crime Story, from Fox 21, will be based on the book “Vulgar Favors” by Vanity Fair writer Maureen Orth, with Tom Rob Smith (London Spy) set to write the first two and multiple subsequent episodes.
Versace/Cunanan will film virtually simultaneously with the second American Crime Story installment, Katrina, in early 2017. I hear that was not planned but happened when FX and Fox 21 executives read Smith’s first script and were so impressed, a decision was made to accelerate production on Season 3. Katrina, about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, will still air first, followed by Versace/Cunanan.
Murphy, who received an Emmy nomination for directing the opening episode of People v. O.J. Simpson and is expected to helm the Katrina opener, will also direct the first episode of Versace/Cunanan, which I hear will film in Los Angeles and Miami next spring.
Also back for Versace/Cunanan are casting directors Nicole Daniels and Courtney Bright, who won an Emmy for The People v. O.J. Simpson. I hear the producers already are meeting with actors to play the title roles, and an A-list actress in negotiations to play Versace’s sister Donatella Versace, who is featured prominently in the story.
American Crime Story’s core producing team — Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson and Brad Falchuk — all Emmy winners for People v. O.J. Simpson as best limited series — will executive produce Versace/Cunanan alongside Smith.
American Crime Story continues to take a different angle on the true crime theme in each season while tackling famous cases — from a murder trial (People v. O.J.) to a human tragedy (Katrina) to a murder mystery (Versace/Cunanan). Cunanan’s motives to kill the famous designer were never established, with his suicide leaving the questions forever unanswered.