Magazine article Variety

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Magazine article Variety

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Article excerpt

The subtitle of the second installment of "American Crime Story," "The Assassination of Gianni Versace," emphasized Andrew Cunanan's (played by Darren Criss) most infamous murder, but writer Tom Rob Smith was determined to not overlook the killer's other victims in his adaptation of Maureen Orth's nonfiction book "Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History."

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Cunanan's first murders were close to home. As depicted in the fourth episode Andrew snaps and ambushes his friend, Jeffrey (Finn Wittrock), much to the horror of former boyfriend, David (Cody Fern), who becomes his second victim.

"There is a difference in tone and in the way Andrew saw [those] murders compared to [those] of Versace and the others," Smith says. "It's someone who has had a nervous breakdown, in effect, who crumbled to nothing - who is full of loathing in his life, and is lashing out at the two people who he feels have drifted from him. Once he crosses the line, he thinks, 'Now that I'm a killer, what should I do?"'

With these two killings Andrew's potential future life collapses, Smith says.

Orth's reporting was vital for Smith's research and gave vital insight into the real-life mindset of everyone as it was happening. Smith credits Orth's book with helping to establish how "American Crime Story" would handle David's death, which occurred after Andrew coerced his ex to go on the run with him post-Jeffrey's murder.

"What Maureen's book did was go to the family, and their grief, after describing his death," Smith says. …

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