(NEW YORK) — Following in the footsteps of the highly-rated and award-winning The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, producer Ryan Murphy returns to FX with the network’s second ACS season, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.
Inspired by actual events, as its name suggests, Assassination centers on the murder of the world famous designer, which was perpetrated by Andrew Cunanan, a con man and brutal spree killer who murdered Versace after four others before taking his own life.
Glee veteran Darren Criss plays the killer, while actor Edgar Ramirez is nearly unrecognizable as his final victim; Penelope Cruz plays Gianni’s equally famous sister Donatella Versace.
Cunanan was a cipher, an alleged gay gigolo who scammed wealthy men and ingratiated himself into various elite social circles. Cunanan became the subject of a nationwide manhunt that landed him on the FBI’s Most Wanted List before he fatally shot himself on July 23rd, 1997.
Criss tells ABC Radio that calling Cunanan a multilayered character is an understatement. “He was such a chameleonic liar that you just — we just don’t know what’s true or what’s not.”
“I’m in the business of empathy…feelings, and psychology. So getting to get your hands on somebody who had such a massive array of emotions…that were so close to being the best of us, but were just ‘off’ enough to be the other side of that? That’s fascinating.”
Criss tells ABC Radio, that the project is very different than Murphy’s O.J. series. “Ryan always joked he just had to get out of a beige courtroom…This is a very vibrant, operatic story…This … takes place all over the country. I mean, it’s a manhunt, it’s a road movie…”
The series kicks off Wednesday at 10 p.m. on FX.
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