'American Crime Story, ' FXIt doesn't take long for The Assassination of Gianni Versace to get to the point. The statement also refers to the show's portrayal of a "medical condition", and Entertainment Weeklyreports that they are referring to Orth's reporting that Versace was HIV-positive at the time of his death; that claim is reportedly depicted in the show, but the Versace family says her reporting "ignores contrary information" they provided. In the summer of 1997, he attracted a high-profile manhunt as one of the FBI's 10 most-wanted fugitives before, eight days after Versace's death, he killed himself. The FX show details the designer's murder, with Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace, Édgar Ramírez as Gianni Versace and Darren Criss as serial killer Andrew Cunanan.
"We issued a statement saying that this story is based on Maureen Orth's book, which is a very celebrated, lauded work of non-fiction that was vetted now for close to 20 years", Murphy said.
In a statement this week, the Versace family distanced themselves from the show.
United States channel FX, which airs the series, responded to the Versace family's first statement. Orth never received any information from the Versace family and she has no basis to make claims about the intimate personal life of Gianni Versace or other family members. As the media scrambled to make the connection between high-profile victim and shadowy assailant, it was Orth who broke the news that Cunanan claimed to have known the fashion superstar-perhaps more intimately than Versace's handlers were comfortable admitting publicly. "Instead, in her effort to create a sensational story, she presents second-hand hearsay that is full of contradictions".
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Since members of the family didn't authorize the book from which it's partly drawn or participate in the writing of the screenplay, the series should be considered "a work of fiction", according to the statement.
"Gianni Versace was a courageous and honest man, who engaged in humanitarian work for the benefit of others", stated the company. The Versace family let the audience know that the upcoming series was not made or even conceived with their input and that it may even be in direct opposition to the real-life facts of the case.
On Monday, the show's creator, Ryan Murphy, spoke to ET in defense of basing the mini-series on Orth's book.