What’s new: FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace

Picture of By Claudia Arena

By Claudia Arena

[mks_dropcap style=”letter” size=”48″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]H[/mks_dropcap]ello Medium friends! This week your favorite procrastinator and professional Netflix binge watcher is back with another suggestion for escaping a sad reality of deadlines and microwave meals. If you thought I was actually going to put in practice that #newyearnewme mantra I am sad to announce that so far I have not started eating healthier or waking up earlier than 11 am, but I have become addicted to saying “Yikes!” in reaction to any and all situations in life. 2018 is looking good so far, I must say. So yeah, back to fiction for escapism’s sake…

I hope you guys have heard of FX’s American Crime Story anthology. Produced by Ryan Murphy, the show depicts some of the most legendary crimes immortalized in America’s pop culture. Amidst its perks, the show always tends to feature a stellar cast with uncanny resemblances to the original protagonists of these gruesome tales. In the first season, the focus was on the infamous OJ Simpson trial, played by a superb Cuba Gooding Jr. The season was also definitely worth watching for the ironic jabs at the Kardashian family, a young Kris Jenner played by Neve Campbell, and the late Robert Kardashian played by none other than Ross from Friends. Wild, really.

So, what’s new? Versace, Versace, Versace!
The anthological nature of FX’s show allows every season to feel like a separate chapter, where a whole new mystery unravels in the darkest folds of these glamorous Hollywood lives. Glamour is key in season 2, set around the assassination of Italian fashion mogul Gianni Versace.

The show has nailed the extravagant, unapologetic sense of luxury that exudes from all things Versace

Let’s begin with the basics.

The show continuously butchers Versace’s name, and my Italian ears truly cannot take it. So before I hear any of y’all saying Versass or Versa-chee, here’s a crash course in pronouncing the late Gianni’s name.

Gianni is Jee-àh-nnee. Not Jeé-ah-nee. Strong n, and accent on the a.

Versace is Vur-sah-che.

With that being said, let me refresh your memory on who this Italian powerhouse was. Hailing all the way from Calabria (I’m half calabrese so #represent), Gianni Versace had built a fashion empire in the 80’s based on luxury, voluptuousness and a celebration of the female form that had culminated in the rise of super top models the likes of Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford. Versace was shot dead in front of his Miami villa in 1997 by serial killer Andrew Cunanan.

The show
To this day, mystery surrounds the fatal shooting. Who was Andrew Cunanan? Why was Gianni killed? Based on Maureen Orth’s book, the show assumes that the killer and his victim knew each other, and traces back the moments leading to Versace’s death. With only one episode out yet, it is difficult to say if this season is going to deliver the same quality of its predecessor. So to close this off, here’s a list of my considerations on some of the most interesting aspects of the show. We might be in for a treat.

  • The atmosphere
    The show has nailed the extravagant, unapologetic sense of luxury that exudes from all things Versace. The sunny Miami villa is a study in opulence and excess, and it is just perfect.
  • The tempo
    So far the slow has been rather slow paced. Apart from Gianni dying, not much has happened. It is hard to see how the narration will play out in the next episodes.
  • The cast
    Penelope Cruz and Edgar Ramirez play Donatella and the late Gianni Versace. As a proud Italian, I have to say I was mildly disappointed when two Spanish actors were selected for the roles. While they might look just right for the part, this brings me to this point.
  • The accent
    Donatella Versace has one of the wackiest, most distinctive Italian accents you might ever have the pleasure to listen. While Cruz does a fantastic job with Donatella’s deep, vaguely slurred speech, at the end of the day her accent is still too Spanish for the part.
  • Can Ricky Martin actually act? Not sure yet. You might have to tune in for the next episodes to find out.
  • Darren Criss as Cunanan is absolutely terrifying. He’s got great glasses, tho.
  • Or just watch for the clothes. Honestly, it’s worth it.

Cover: Annie Spratt / Final editing: Ramona Nouse


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