By Isabella Loy
American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace has been called “compelling” by the Wall Street Journal, and has been said to “take the series to another level” by the San Francisco Chronicle. Versace is the second installment of the series, the first being The People vs. OJ Simpson. The 9 episode series stars Édgar Ramírez as Gianni Versace, Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, and Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace.
The series is played out backwards, starting with the murder of the famous fashion designer Versace. Gianni was murdered by serial killer Andrew Cunanan, who killed 4 men before him. Cunanan was a gay escort, and met the majority of his victims through his work. Even though the show is named after Versace, it mainly focuses on Cunanan’s killing spree, and what led up to the infamous murder.
Darren Criss, who was previously known for his role on the hit Fox TV show Glee, is absolutely terrifying as Andrew Cunanan. This role shows a completely different side of Criss that nobody has ever seen before. On Glee, Criss was known as a bubbly, charismatic singer who would never harm anybody. Seeing him in a completely opposite role may be shocking, but it proves how versatile he is as an actor. His role, along with the other cast members, has already been generating Emmy buzz.
An impressing aspect of this series is that almost all scenes were shot in the actual location that the events took place. For example, there were numerous scenes shot in the real Versace mansion, and when Cunanan met a client in Chicago, all scenes were shot there. Ryan Murphy, the writer and creator of the show, was very adamant on making sure that it stayed true to the story, in order to honor the victims and tell their stories rather than offend them. When Cunanan killed one of his former boyfriends, it did not simply show a murder. The writers made sure to include a backstory for each of the victims, and instead of just getting to see their death, viewers learn a lot about each person that Cunanan killed.
Viewers who are sensitive or squeamish when it comes to blood and violence should not watch American Crime Story. There is partial nudity and many violent death scenes.