Penélope Cruz talks playing Donatella Versace, plus the one change the designer wanted for 'American Crime Story'

Penélope Cruz had a lenghty conversation with Donatella Versace before taking on the role of the designer in the upcoming FX series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. "I did have one conversation that was between she and I," the Spanish actress, who has a history with the Italian fashion house, told Entertainment Weekly. "I don't want to say the details, but it was a long conversation." The Oscar winner continued, “That was very important to me. I think [Donatella] knows that the way I’m playing her, that I truly love her and respect her.”


cruzversaceVIEW GALLERY The Spanish actress plays the fashion designer in the upcoming FX series Photos: Karwai Tang/WireImage/Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

According to executive producer Ryan Murphy, the 62-year-old designer – who is a mom to daughter Allegra Versace and son Daniel Versace – did have one request when it came to the show’s storyline. He revealed, “She didn’t want her children to be characters in the show or exploited, and I understood that, so we removed that element.”

MORE: See Ricky and Édgar in character for their 'Versace' roles

Despite the change, Ryan noted that Javier Bardem’s wife, 43, delivered an authentic performance, much like Emmy-winning actress Sarah Paulson did in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. “Penélope’s portrayal is very real and human,” the producer said. “I think Penélope is to Donatella what Sarah [Paulson] is to Marcia [Clark]. I think people have marginalized and under-appreciated Donatella. I thought the interesting parallel is that Marcia Clark was an advocate for Ron [Goldman] and Nicole [Simpson]. I think Donatella was an advocate for Versace and his legacy and his heart.”



Ryan's latest TV project, which is set to air in 2018, follows the 1997 assassination of the renowned designer, Gianni Versace, played by Édgar Ramírez. The series also stars Ricky Martin as Gianni’s partner, Antonio D'Amico, in addition to Glee alum Darren Criss (Andrew Cunanan) and New Girl actor Max Greenfield.

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