Versace assassination meets TV adaptation

On the morning of July 15, 1997, Gianni Versace, the famed Italian designer, was murdered in
cold blood by Andrew Cunanan. The assassination drew headlines and sparked a major
conversation about his slaying, as Versace was not a random murder. In his three-month killing
spree, Cunanan had been targeting white gay males.

FX’s newest hit show from Ryan Murphy, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” is the second
part in “American Crime Story,” which was preceded by “The People vs. OJ.” The show follows
the assassination of Versace, the months leading up to it, and how Cunanan was able to hide in
plain sight for months. “Versace” boasts an A-list cast, with Edgar Ramirez portraying Versace
and Darren Criss as Cunanan. Ricky Martin and Penelope Cruz also appear as Antonio
D’Amico and Donatella Versace, respectively.

“Versace” begins with the murder of the designer, then progressively moves backwards to
include Cunanan’s other victims (Lee Miglin, Jeff Trail, David Madson, and William Reese).
Though the show bears Versace’s name, it mainly focuses on Cunanan. In fact, some of the
episodes do not include Gianni or Donatella at all. Though this is the case, “Versace” effectively
portrays the Versace family during their screen time, all while remaining authentic. Gianni and
Donatella often argued over which direction the company should go, which Murphy emphasizes
on the show.

Similar to “OJ,” “Versace” also addresses the underlying issues in the 90s. Homophobia ran
rampant throughout the US, and the majority of people were not accepting of the gay and
lesbian community. Most gay and lesbian people preferred to stay in the closet and not talk
about their sexuality. Social studies teacher Mrs. Ashley Braun, who was a teenager in the late 90s,

“It was something no one really talked about. After Matthew Shepard, people started paying
more attention. But, for a teenager, it was still kind of taboo,” Braun said. Matthew Shepard was
a University of Wyoming student who was tortured and killed because of his sexuality in 1998.

Murphy hopes that the show will spotlight the struggles the LGBT community faced in the 90s,
as well as honor Gianni’s legacy.