The Assassination Of Gianni Versace- American Crime Story

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is the second season of the FX true crime anthology television series American Crime Story. The season premiered on January 17, 2018, and concluded on March 21, 2018. It consists of a total of 9 episodes, and explores the murder of designer Gianni Versace by spree killer Andrew Cunanan, based on Maureen Orth's book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History. The series stars Édgar Ramírez, Darren Criss, Ricky Martin, and Penélope Cruz.

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The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Promotional poster
Starring
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes9
Release
Original networkFX
Original releaseJanuary 17 
March 21, 2018
Season chronology
List of American Crime Story episodes

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is the second season of the FX true crime anthology television series American Crime Story. The season premiered on January 17, 2018,[1][2] and concluded on March 21, 2018. It consists of a total of 9 episodes,[3] and explores the murder of designer Gianni Versace by spree killer Andrew Cunanan, based on Maureen Orth's book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History.[2][4] The series stars Édgar Ramírez, Darren Criss, Ricky Martin, and Penélope Cruz.

The season received positive reviews from critics, with praise for most of the performances. At the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, it received the most nominations with nine, and won three awards, including Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for Criss.[5]

Cast and characters

Main

Special guest stars

Recurring

Guest

Episodes

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
US viewers
(millions)
111"The Man Who Would Be Vogue"Ryan MurphyTom Rob SmithJanuary 17, 2018 (2018-01-17)[lower-alpha 1]3WAX012.22[7]
On the morning of July 15, 1997, fashion designer Gianni Versace is shot and killed outside his Miami Beach mansion by Andrew Cunanan. Seven years earlier, Cunanan meets Versace at a gay nightclub in San Francisco and tells his roommates about the encounter the following day, albeit with most of the details either embellished or fabricated. Cunanan later attends a performance of Capriccio as Versace's guest and exchanges origin stories with him after the performance. In the present, Cunanan flees the scene, evading one of Versace's associates. Versace, meanwhile, is rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead. As police collaborate with federal authorities, Versace's sister, Donatella, and brother, Santo, plan the future of their brother's business empire while Cunanan purchases newspapers covering Versace's murder with a remorseless expression.
122"Manhunt"Nelson CraggTom Rob SmithJanuary 24, 2018 (2018-01-24)3WAX021.42[8]
In March 1994, Versace learns that he is HIV positive and Donatella immediately blames Antonio for the illness. Three years later, Cunanan arrives in Miami after fleeing from South Carolina and moves into a motel under an assumed identity. He juggles working as a prostitute, giving his earnings to his homosexual neighbor Ronnie, and feeding his obsession with Versace. Versace, meanwhile, juggles dealing with creative block and reeling from Antonio's proposal of a wedding. While at a nightclub one evening, Cunanan surprises Versace and Antonio and attempts to follow them only to lose them in the crowd.
133"A Random Killing"Gwyneth Horder-PaytonTom Rob SmithJanuary 31, 2018 (2018-01-31)3WAX031.26[9]
In May 1997, Chicago real estate developer Lee Miglin is found dead in his garage by his wife Marilyn. One week earlier, Miglin invites Cunanan, whom he knows as a gay escort, over to his house after Marilyn leaves Chicago to promote her perfume brand. Cunanan proceeds to brutally torture and kill Miglin before stealing his Lexus. In the present, detectives assigned to the case discover gay pornographic magazines surrounding Miglin's dead body. Marilyn insists that the killer owns the magazines and that her husband's murder was nothing more than a random killing. The authorities later use the car's phone in an attempt to track Cunanan, who learns about their plan after it is leaked to the media. He then abandons Miglin's Lexus in Pennsville, New Jersey before gunning down caretaker William Reese and stealing his red pick-up truck. Marilyn, meanwhile, deals with her grief as she continues to promote her perfume.
144"House by the Lake"Daniel MinahanTom Rob SmithFebruary 7, 2018 (2018-02-07)3WAX040.98[10]
In April 1997, Cunanan lures former acquaintance Jeff Trail to the Minneapolis loft-apartment of his former lover, David Madson, and bludgeons him to death with a claw hammer. After forcing Madson to remain complicit, Cunanan decides to flee to Mexico when one of Madson's co-workers visits him. The Minneapolis Police Department, meanwhile, discovers Trail's corpse and suspect Madson to be the killer. They proceed to question Madson's parents, who firmly believe that their son is innocent. When Madson confronts Cunanan about his lies, Cunanan realizes that he has lost his hold on his lover and shoots Madson near a lake outside Rush City.
155"Don't Ask Don't Tell"Daniel MinahanTom Rob SmithFebruary 14, 2018 (2018-02-14)3WAX050.91[11]
In June 1995, Versace ignores Donatella's disapproval and makes his sexuality public in an interview. In November 1995, U.S. Navy lieutenant Jeff Trail is suspected as a homosexual after saving a fellow veteran from being assaulted in San Diego. Following a suicide attempt, Trail goes to a gay bar and meets Cunanan. Trail later agrees to do an interview about homophobia in the military, during which he "makes the decision" to leave the Navy. Two years later, Cunanan runs into Trail and David Madson in Minneapolis. Both men, however, try to avoid him, with Trail staying at his sister's house and Madson stating he has moved on. Abandoned and angry, Cunanan resolves to murder Trail.
166"Descent"Gwyneth Horder-PaytonTom Rob SmithFebruary 28, 2018 (2018-02-28)3WAX071.10[12]
In 1996, Cunanan lives in La Jolla, California with middle-aged businessman Norman Blachford, who handles his finances as part of their arranged relationship. During his twenty-seventh birthday party, Cunanan tries to impress David Madson by fabricating details about his life and boasting that everyone loves him. After an attempt to ask Blachford for more extravagant demands results in him leaving the house, Cunanan spends thousands of dollars in an attempt to win Madson over only for Madson to cut all ties with him. Cunanan then turns to drugs and outs Jeff Trail to his father in a postcard, causing Trail to threaten him before moving to Minneapolis. Following a severe, drug-fueled bout of depression, Cunanan reunites with his mother Mary Ann and tells her he is going to Minneapolis.
177"Ascent"Gwyneth Horder-PaytonTom Rob SmithMarch 7, 2018 (2018-03-07)3WAX060.92[13]
In 1992, Versace pressures Donatella into taking over the company after his death. Following a failed attempt to collaborate on a dress for the Vogue anniversary gala, Versace is diagnosed with ear cancer and travels to Miami to recover, forcing Donatella to take the reins. That same year, Cunanan, who is living with Mary Ann, starts working as a gay escort for older men. He develops a relationship with architect Lincoln Aston, a close friend of Norman Blachford, only for Aston to break up with him after discovering he and David Madson spent the night together. Cunanan's attempt to reconcile with Aston ends with him witnessing Aston's brutal murder. Cunanan then moves out of his mother's apartment following an argument and uses Aston's death to develop a relationship with Blachford, who lets him move into his house.
188"Creator / Destroyer"Matt BomerTom Rob Smith and Maggie CohnMarch 14, 2018 (2018-03-14)3WAX081.00[14]
In 1957 Italy, a young Versace starts designing clothes under tutelage from his dressmaker mother. In 1980, a young Cunanan receives preferential treatment from his stockbroker father Modesto, who abuses his mother and siblings. Seven years later, Cunanan juggles attending private school and secretly dating older men. Modesto, meanwhile, flees to Manila after being fired for embezzling from elderly clients and learning that he is wanted by the FBI, leaving his family penniless. Cunanan tracks him down and confronts him over the charges only to be rejected. Upon returning to the United States, Cunanan applies for a job at a pharmacy, where he tells the manager that Modesto owns pineapple plantations.
199"Alone"Daniel MinahanTom Rob SmithMarch 21, 2018 (2018-03-21)3WAX091.20[15]
On the evening of July 15, 1997, Cunanan hides in a Miami Beach houseboat in an attempt to evade both local and federal authorities. Over the course of the next two days, Cunanan attempts to leave the island city only to continue hiding due to the strong police presence. As the authorities interrogate Mary Ann and Ronnie, Marilyn grapples with the fact that he has gone unpunished. At the same time, Cunanan's friend Elizabeth Cote appeals to him in a television interview, David Madson's father insists his son is a victim, and Modesto uses Cunanan's story in an attempt to get attention. On July 22, 1997, as Versace is buried in his family vault near Lake Como, Italy, Donatella tells Antonio he cannot reside in the house that he was promised. The next morning, the authorities corner Cunanan only for him to shoot himself in the mouth. Cunanan is later buried in a public mausoleum while Donatella prepares to meet with Versace's lawyers and Antonio attempts suicide.

Production

Development

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story was picked up on October 18, 2016, and was announced as the third season of the series, following the season about Katrina.[2] The announcement also revealed that English author Tom Rob Smith would be the writer of multiple episodes of the season, including the first two,[2] while executive producer Ryan Murphy would be directing the season premiere.[6] Following the airing of the first season's finale in April 2016, it was revealed that series creators Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski would not be returning for the second season.[16]

In June 2017, it was announced that Katrina would not begin production until early 2018 and that Versace would air in early 2018, replacing Katrina as the show's official second installment.[17]

On October 2, 2017, American Horror Story veteran Matt Bomer was announced as the director of the eighth episode, making it his directorial debut.[18] During its production, the working title of the season was American Crime Story: Versace/Cunanan.[19][20]

In December 2017, after the first public screening, it was revealed that Versace would have nine episodes,[3] despite being originally reported to consist of ten episodes.[2]

Casting

In February 2017, Édgar Ramírez and Darren Criss joined the cast of The Assassination of Gianni Versace as Gianni Versace and Andrew Cunanan, respectively.[21] Murphy confirmed the reports announcing Lady Gaga would portray Donatella Versace in The Assassination of Gianni Versace were false;[22][23] Penélope Cruz was later cast in the role.[24] In April 2017, it was announced that Ricky Martin was joining the cast of The Assassination of Gianni Versace as Antonio D'Amico, Versace’s longtime partner.[25] On April 28, 2017, Annaleigh Ashford was seen filming on the set of The Assassination of Gianni Versace with Criss.[26] On June 21, 2017, it was announced through Entertainment Weekly that Ashford's role in the series would be as Elizabeth Cote, a friend of Cunanan's since high school, while Nico Evers-Swindell would play her husband, Philip Merrill.[27]

On May 5, 2017, Murphy announced via his Instagram account that Max Greenfield joined the casting, by publishing a photo of Greenfield and Criss on the set.[28] On June 21, 2017, it was announced that Finn Wittrock will star in The Assassination of Gianni Versace, playing Jeffrey Trail, Cunanan's first victim.[29]

In November 2017, the official Twitter account for the series revealed that Judith Light and Dascha Polanco are part of the cast.[30][31] In December 2017, the official webpage for the series released cast and character bios revealing that Max Greenfield would play Ronnie, whilst confirming the casting of Judith Light as Marilyn Miglin, Dascha Polanco as Detective Lori Wieder, Jon Jon Briones as Modesto Cunanan, Cody Fern as David Madson, and Mike Farrell as Lee Miglin.[32]

Filming

According to multiple set reports and photos, principal photography of season 2 took place at the beginning of May 2017, in Miami.[33] As revealed by Darren Criss via his Twitter account, shooting ended during the week of November 13.[34]

Promotion

In September 2017, FX released the first promotional teaser for The Assassination of Gianni Versace, showing doves sitting outside Versace's former mansion and flying away when two gunshots ring out.[35] A second teaser was released that same month, depicting Versace's sister Donatella placing flowers on a casket.[36] In October, a new teaser was released, depicting some police radio communications as a black clothes cover, with the name Versace on it, is being closed.[37] The same month, a second teaser was released, showing Donatella kissing the stairs where Gianni was murdered, before entering in his mansion.[38] On Halloween day, FX aired a new promotional video during a commercial break of the ninth episode of American Horror Story: Cult, which announced that the season would premiere on January 17, 2018.[1]

In November 2017, four new teasers were released. The first one shows Versace relaxing next to his pool, as Cunanan comes out of it.[39] The second one depicts D'Amico leaving Gianni's house, as he hears two gunshots (the unseen murder) and runs to see what happened; while a voice-over by Ricky Martin as D'Amico says that he was Gianni's partner and lover.[40] The third one shows Donatella and Gianni hugging and watching themselves in front of a mirror, as the latter tells his sister that she would be Versace without him.[41] The fourth one depicts a running sewing machine, which ends up having some issues and not being able to finish its work.[42]

On November 15, 2017, the first full trailer for the season was released via the Twitter account of the series. It shows some moments of Cunanan's unstable past and the first aftermaths of Versace's assassination.[43] The same day, it was announced that the first episode of the season would be available five days before the official premiere for FX+ subscribers.[6] On November 28, 2017, FX released a new short trailer depicting the main cast of the season: Cruz, Ramírez, Martin and Criss; while a voice-over by Criss as Cunanan reveals how he feels the same as Versace.[44]

In December 2017, more teasers were released. The first one opposes Versace and Cunanan as they speak about themselves and their past.[45] The second one features a Versace fashion show where models start crying, as news reports about Versace's death are being heard.[46] The third one shows Cunanan trying to convince someone that he really has a date with Versace, while the scene is being cut by shots of the assassination and its aftermaths.[47] The fourth one features Donatella Versace in a black dress for her brother's funeral;[48] the fifth one shows different rooms of Versace's mansion, with multiple voice-overs by different characters;[49] and the sixth one features a showering Cunanan, surrounding his face with duct tape, as Max Greenfield's Ronnie asks him what he is doing.[50] On December 28, a first look at the series was released, with multiple interviews from the crew and the cast.[51] That same day, a new teaser was also revealed, depicting Cunanan as he is about to kill his sexual partner and then Versace.[52]

At the start of January 2018, a new teaser was released. It features Cunanan changing the license plate of his car and greeting a young girl, while a voice-over is saying that the police are looking for him and that he is very dangerous.[53] On January 16, 2018, the full red band trailer was released,[54] and a short version premiered the next day.[55]

Reception

Reviews

The second season of American Crime Story received generally positive reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the season an approval rating of 88% based on 90 reviews, with an average rating of 7.09/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Assassination of Versace starts with a bang and unfurls slowly, moving backward through an intricate (and occasionally convoluted) murder mystery anchored by a career-defining performance from Darren Criss."[56] On Metacritic, the season has a score of 74 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[57]

Reaction from individuals involved

In January 2018, the Versace family released a statement criticizing the series. They explained they have "neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever" in the production of the season, before adding that it "should only be considered as a work of fiction."[58] Executive producer Ryan Murphy answered that the series was "not a work of fiction" as it is based on a non-fiction book, Maureen Orth's Vulgar Favors, and that the production team and FX stand by the author and her work. Comparing it to The People v. O. J. Simpson, Murphy added that the season is "a work of non-fiction obviously with docudrama elements," and not a documentary.[58] Following this answer, the Versace family released a second statement, still slamming the series as "a work of fiction" because "the Orth book itself is full of gossip and speculation." They also heavily criticized Orth's work, calling it an "effort to create a sensational story" with "second-hand hearsay that is full of contradictions." They gave the example of Gianni Versace's medical condition, as Orth claims that Versace was HIV positive at the time of his death.[59]

Antonio D'Amico also criticized the series, deeming some scenes as "ridiculous" and insisting that "so much has been fictionalised". He also revealed that he does not plan to watch it, but that he would have been happy if Ricky Martin, who plays his role, got in contact to get some insight into his relationship with Versace.[60]

According to Ryan Murphy, Donatella Versace was very supportive that Penélope Cruz played her role. As Cruz and Versace are friends, Murphy explained that, when he offered her the role, Cruz asked the permission of Versace before agreeing to do it. He also revealed that, while Cruz was representing the series at the 75th Golden Globe Awards, Versace "very graciously sent [her] a lovely and huge flower arrangement saying 'good luck.'"[58]

Ratings

No. Title Air dateRating/share
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "The Man Who Would Be Vogue" January 17, 20180.72.22[7]0.61.761.33.98[61]
2 "Manhunt" January 24, 20180.41.42[8]0.71.981.13.40[62]
3 "A Random Killing" January 31, 20180.41.26[9]0.71.941.13.20[63]
4 "House by the Lake" February 7, 20180.30.98[10]0.61.790.92.77[64]
5 "Don't Ask Don't Tell" February 14, 20180.20.91[11]TBDTBDTBDTBD
6 "Descent" February 28, 20180.31.10[12]0.61.580.92.68[65]
7 "Ascent" March 7, 20180.30.92[13]0.51.550.82.47[66]
8 "Creator / Destroyer" March 14, 20180.31.00[14]0.51.570.82.57[67]
9 "Alone" March 21, 20180.31.20[15]0.61.620.92.82[68]

Accolades

Year Association Category Nominated artist/work Result Ref
2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Performance in a Show Darren Criss Nominated [69]
People's Choice Awards The Drama TV Star of 2018 Darren Criss Nominated [70]
The Bingeworthy Show of 2018 The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Limited Series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Won [71]
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Darren Criss Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Ricky Martin Nominated
Édgar Ramírez Nominated
Finn Wittrock Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Penélope Cruz Nominated
Judith Light Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special Ryan Murphy (for "The Man Who Would Be Vogue") Won
Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special Tom Rob Smith (for "House by the Lake") Nominated
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series, Movie or Special Courtney Bright and Nicole Daniels Won [5][72]
Outstanding Contemporary Costumes Lou Eyrich, Allison Leach, Rebecca Guzzi and Nora Pedersen (for "The Man Who Would Be Vogue") Won
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Limited Series or Movie Chris Clark, Natalie Driscoll, Shay Sanford-Fong and Helena Cepeda Won
Outstanding Makeup for a Limited Series or Movie (Non-Prosthetic) Eryn Krueger Mekash, Robin Beauchesne, Silvina Knight, David Williams, Ana Lozano and Tym Buacharern Won
Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or Special Eryn Krueger Mekash, Michael Mekash, Silvina Knight, Robin Beauchesne, David LeRoy Anderson and Glen Eisner Nominated
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie Chi-Yoon Chung (for "Manhunt") Nominated
Emily Greene (for "Alone") Nominated
Shelly Westerman (for "House by the Lake") Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited Series or Movie Doug Andham, Joe Earle, John Bauman and Judah Getz (for "The Man Who Would Be Vogue") Nominated
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Won [73]
Individual Achievement in Drama Darren Criss Nominated
American Film Institute Awards Top 10 Television Programs The Assassination of Gianni Versace Won [74]
Gold Derby Awards Best Miniseries The Assassination of Gianni Versace Won [75][76]
Best Miniseries/TV Movie Actor Darren Criss Won
Best Miniseries/TV Movie Supporting Actor Cody Fern Won
Édgar Ramírez Nominated
Finn Wittrock Nominated
Best Miniseries/TV Movie Supporting Actress Judith Light Won
Penélope Cruz Nominated
Best Ensemble of the Year The Assassination of Gianni Versace Nominated
2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Darren Criss Won [77]
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Penélope Cruz Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Limited Series The Assassination of Gianni Versace Won [78]
Best Actor in a Movie/Limited Series Darren Criss Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Limited Series Finn Wittrock Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Movie/Limited Series Penélope Cruz Nominated
Judith Light Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards Long Form – Adapted Maggie Cohn and Tom Rob Smith Pending [79]
Satellite Awards Best Miniseries The Assassination of Gianni Versace Won [80]
Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Film Darren Criss Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film Édgar Ramírez Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film Penélope Cruz Nominated
Best Ensemble: Television The Assassination of Gianni Versace Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Miniseries or Television Film The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Won [81]
Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Darren Criss Won
Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Édgar Ramírez Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Penélope Cruz Nominated
Producers Guild of America Awards David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Limited Series Television Ryan Murphy, Nina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Alexis Martin Woodall, Tom Rob Smith, Daniel Minahan, Brad Falchuk, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, Chip Vucelich, Maggie Cohn, Eric Kovtun, Lou Eyrich, and Eryn Krueger Mekash Won [82][83]

Notes

  1. This episode was available five days before the official premiere for FX+ subscribers.[6]

References

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  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "'American Crime Story' Renewed By FX For Season 3, Will Take On Versace Murder". Retrieved October 18, 2016.
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  4. Orth, Maureen (1999). Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History (1st; Hardcover ed.). Delacorte Press. ISBN 9780385332866.
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  38. AmericanCrimeStoryFX [@ACSFX] (October 18, 2017). "Penelope Cruz is Donatella Versace. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story premieres in 2018 on FX. #ACSVersace" (Tweet). Retrieved November 15, 2017 via Twitter.
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