There's little question that American Crime Story was the breakout television show of 2016. The People v. O. J. Simpson was both a critical darling and a rating powerhouse, raking in accolades including five Emmys, four TCA awards, and three Golden Globes.
The anthology program hopes to replicate that success with the second season centering around the brutal murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace, who was shot on the front steps of his Miami Beach mansion by serial killer Andrew Cunanan in 1997.
Here's everything we know so far about The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.
THE VERSACE FAMILY DOES NOT APPROVE OF THE SHOW.
On January 8, just a few weeks before the premiere, the Versace family spoke out about the program, calling it a "work of fiction." Their statement reads: "The Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series about the death of Mr. Gianni Versace. 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."
Gianni Versace's boyfriend Antonio D’Amico has also expressed disapproval. In speaking with the Observer about the show, he said, “The picture of Ricky Martin holding the body in his arms is ridiculous...Maybe it’s the director’s poetic license, but that is not how I reacted.”
Creator Ryan Murphy has acknowledged that he takes dramatic liberties in his work. Of this season of American Crime Story, he said, "There are always certain things you take liberty with, in wanting to move towards something more emotional."
WHILE THE FIRST TRAILER PROMISES GLAMOUR, SEX, AND VIOLENCE, THREE OF MR. MURPHY'S SPECIALTIES, THE SECOND CLIP TAKES VIEWERS BEHIND-THE-SCENES.
The People v. O.J. Simpson was about more than just the court case. The show was also an exploration of race relations in this country in 1995. In the same way, the anthology series' second season is about the assassination of Gianni Versace, yes, but it's also about homophobia. A new trailer explores why the producers wanted to tackle this particular crime story.
"Andrew's journey is a journey through the politics of homosexuality as they play out across America in the 1990s," executive producer Brad Simpson says in the clip.
The season delves into what "makes this an American crime, a crime America is guilty of," continues executive producer Nina Jacobson.
The first-look also features actors Darren Criss (who plays Cunanan), Penélope Cruz (Donatella Versace), Ricky Martin (Antonio D'Amico), and star Edgar Ramirez (Gianni Versace) discussing the story behind the story.
"It is about the events leading up to the murder of Gianni Versace," Ramirez says. "But also we're going to understand how that could've been avoided."
An older trailer (below) offers a glimpse into not only the Versace family's grief, but also the criminal investigation of Gianni's death, and what happened to serial killer Andrew Cunanan before he pulled the trigger. In case you weren't already aware, it also details the correct way to say Versace.
“This world is wasted on me,” Cunanan narrates over the clip. “Yet this world also made you, Versace, into a star. You’re not better than me; we’re the same. The only difference is that you got lucky.”
Watch it here:
THE SHOW IS BASED ON MAUREEN ORTH'S BOOK.
Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U. S. History served as inspiration for the miniseries.
IT WILL PREMIERE WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2018 ON FX.
THE STORY WILL BE TOLD IN REVERSE.
"The first episode deals with the literal murder," executive producer Murphy said during the TCA Press Tour of the storyline, "and then we tell the story in reverse, we get into [Cunanan’s motive], and why he wanted to do this."
This series will reportedly delve into the homophobia that led to Gianni's shooting in the first place.
"More than why he was killed—it’s why it was allowed to happen," Murphy said of the plot, according to Harpers Bazaar. "With American Crime Story, we’re always trying to talk about a crime within a social idea. One of the reasons Cunanan was able to make his way across the country and pick off these victims, many of whom were gay, was because of homophobia at the time."
THE WORD "ASSASSINATION" IN THE TITLE IS DELIBERATE.
“I think the word has a political overtone, and it denotes somebody who is taking the life of somebody else to make a point," Murphy said. "That’s exactly what Cunanan was trying to do, and that’s explored in the show.”
THE SHOW FEATURES A HIGH-PROFILE ENSEMBLE CAST.
Much like the first season of American Crime Story, the cast of Versace is high wattage, and stocked with actors who have worked with Ryan Murphy in the past. Penélope Cruz will star as Donatella Versace, Édgar Ramírez will play Gianni, and Darren Criss will portray Cunanan. Other cast members include Ricky Martin, who will play Gianni's longtime partner Antonio D'Amico, Analeigh Ashford, who will portray Cunanan's longtime friend Lizzie Cote, and Max Greenfield in the role of Gianni and Donatella's brother Santo.
ASSASSINATION REPLACED THE "KATRINA" SEASON.
Initially, the second season of American Crime Story was supposed to center around Hurricane Katrina, but in June of 2017, it was announced the Versace season would air first, in early 2018. The Katrina season will begin production early next year.
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors