For those of you curious about the new mini-series, American Crime Story, Season Two: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, here’s my review to peak your interest even more. A total of nine episodes and I almost wanted more by the end. First off, you don’t have to be into fashion and all it entails to enjoy this mini-series. You don’t even have to know the works of Versace or the story behind his clothing line. You may simply be a fan of Glee star Darren Criss, Penelope Cruz, or Executive Producer Ryan Murphy and that’s what made you want to see it. I will tell you however, it is a dark look at the LGBT community and some of the things that are not always brought to light. Versace follows the story of murderer Andrew Cunanan as he boldly walks up to Gianni Versace, in broad daylight, and puts a bullet in his brain, leading instantly to his death on the front steps of his Miami mansion. This happens in the first episode and the story unwinds from there going back in time to the events leading up to this dark day.
I admit, I was sceptical when I heard Darren Criss was cast as the lead role of Cunanan. Having watched him semi-regularly on Glee, he was such a happy-go-lucky character who was easy on the eyes and could carry a note with his beautiful voice. However, I was pleasantly surprised in Criss who made me feel instantly uncomfortable watching him stare blankly through his friends and victims and get himself into vile situations that were downright twisted. In the series, Criss prostitutes himself, takes advantage of those he encounters, and goes after wealthy men, feeding them lies about his past to wager what he wants from them. We only get a glimpse near the end of the series as to why Cunanan transformed into the monster we see. And although there are very few moments where you almost feel sorry for him, the story paints him as a conniving spoiled brat who lost control, and a psychopath obsessed with becoming famous. Versace, on the other hand, is painted as a generous, loving, friendly guy who started up his business with his sister Donatella (played by Cruz) and was very well liked. Gianni was very open in the LGBT community and didn’t require bodyguards to follow him everywhere. He was very unprotected which, unfortunately, led to his death. Cruz also does a good job of portraying Donatella in a stern and protective but caring light, and Ricky Martin does a convincing job of playing the love interest to Versace (played by Edgar Ramirez).
Another surprising gem in this series is Judith Light from TV’s Who’s the Boss and Ugly Betty. Judith is cast as self-made entrepreneur, Marilyn Miglin, who was married to one of Cunanan’s victims. Light plays her character with such depth and emotion, it’s impossible not to feel for her situation. As the tale unfolds, and the lies and manipulation increase, we are introduced to many gay characters that lay victim both literally and figuratively to Cunanan. One who is played by Cody Fern, who does an extremely raw and emotional portrayal of David Madsen, who was romantically involved with Cunanan for a time. Overall this series was well cast, wonderfully directed, and although will leave a lasting unforgettable impression on you, it’s worth a watch.