Ricky Martin de­fends Ver­sace mur­der drama

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY LYNN ELBER

Ricky Martin said he re­as­sured Gianni Ver­sace’s long­time part­ner An­to­nio D’Amico that the pair will be treated re­spect­fully in a TV drama about Ver­sace’s 1997 mur­der.

“I’ll make sure peo­ple fall in love with your re­la­tion­ship with Gianni,’’ Martin, who plays D’Amico in FX’s “The As­sas­si­na­tion of Gianni Ver­sace: Amer­i­can Crime Story,’’ re­counted telling him.

Martin said he spoke by phone Wed­nes­day to D’Amico af­ter he had pub­licly crit­i­cized the se­ries for what he called in­ac­cu­ra­cies. It’s in pro­duc­tion and set to air in Jan­uary.

Ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Ryan Murphy, tak­ing part in a panel dis­cus­sion Wed­nes­day, said D’Amico may have been judg­ing the project based on a pa­parazzi photo snapped dur­ing film­ing out­side Ver­sace’s Mi­ami Beach man­sion. It’s where the famed fash­ion de­signer was shot by se­rial killer An­drew Cu­nanan.

But Murphy said the se­ries is a drama and not a doc­u­men­tary, adding, “you have to be re­spect­ful but make it your own.’’ It’s part of his “Amer­i­can Crime Story’’ an­thol­ogy that be­gan with the Emmy-win­ning “The Peo­ple v. O.J. Simp­son.’’

The ref­er­ence to “as­sas­si­na­tion’’ in the ti­tle is de­lib­er­ate, Murphy said.

The word has a po­lit­i­cal over­tone that in­di­cates killing to make a point, “and that’s ex­actly what An­drew Cu­nanan did,’’ he said of the man be­lieved to have killed at least four oth­ers be­fore Ver­sace. Cu­nanan com­mit­ted sui­cide about a week later as po­lice tracked him.

Cu­nanan was tar­get­ing gay men and Ver­sace was among the rare celebri­ties who dared to be open about their sex­u­al­ity at a re­pres­sive time, Murphy said. That mo­ti­va­tion and law en­force­ment’s fail­ure to stop the mur­ders, which Murphy blamed on ho­mo­pho­bia, were chief rea­sons he de­cided to make the se­ries.

“Ver­sace was the last vic­tim and he didn’t have to die,’’ he said.

Venezue­lan ac­tor Edgar Ramirez (“The Girl on the Train’’) plays Ver­sace, with Dar­ren Criss (“Glee’’) as Cu­nanan and Pene­lope Cruz as Ver­sace’s sis­ter, Donatella.

Murphy said the se­ries hon­ours the loss of all Cu­nanan’s victims who were taken too soon. But Ver­sace was a genius whose po­ten­tial to dis­rupt so­ci­ety was lost, he said.

“We’re in a world that Gianni Ver­sace cre­ated,’’ Ramirez said, one that com­bined sex­i­ness, glamour and opu­lence in un­par­al­leled ways.


Ricky Martin, a cast mem­ber in the FX se­ries “The As­sas­si­na­tion of Gianni Ver­sace: Amer­i­can Crime Story,” takes part in a panel dis­cus­sion on the show dur­ing the 2017 Tele­vi­sion Crit­ics As­so­ci­a­tion Summer Press Tour at 20th Cen­tury Fox Stu­dios on Wed­nes­day.

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