Penelope Cruz to star as Donatella Versace in American Crime Story

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Kayleigh Dray

It’s official; Penelope Cruz has been cast in the third season of American Crime Story – and she will take on the role of Donatella Versace, the sister of murdered fashion designer Gianni Versace.

Versace was shot and killed outside his Miami Beach mansion on 15 July 1997 by serial killer Andrew Cunanan, who was named one of the FBI’s Most Wanted after murdering at least five people during a three-month-killing spree.

Gianni Versace

Gianni Versace

Eight days after Versace’s death, Cunanan committed suicide with the same gun. To this day, his motives for the murder remain unclear; at the time, police famously told the public they “don’t know that we are ever going to know the answers”.

American Crime Story intends to examine the murder in greater detail, using Maureen Orth’s 1999 book, Vulgar Favours, as the primary source material.

Lady Gaga was initially rumoured to be taking on the role of Donatella Versace

Lady Gaga was initially rumoured to be taking on the role of Donatella Versace

Cruz joins a star-studded cast; Edgar Ramirez will play her on-screen brother, Versace, while Darren Criss has been cast as his killer, Andrew Cunanan.

American Crime Story has been praised as one of the best anthology television shows to air in a long time.

The first season focused on one of the most notorious murder trials of the 20th century for The People v. O. J. Simpson, and work has already begun on the show’s second season, Katrina, which is set to dramatise the events and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Versace/Cunanan is expected to go into production in early 2017. If all goes well, the 10-episode series should appear on our screens sometime in 2018.

Images: Rex Pictures


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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