It takes a lot to fill Donatella Versace's stilettos, but Ryan Murphy has found the actress willing to try. Penélope Cruz has just been announced as the next actress to take the Italian design legend’s likeness to the screen, Entertainment Weekly reports.
After much speculation as to who will play the famed Italian fashion designer for Murphy’s next season of American Crime Story, it was officially confirmed that the Oscar winner has been cast in the role. The mini-series will focus on the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace, brother of Donatella. Edgar Ramirez will be playing the role of Gianni, with Darren Criss signed on to act as serial killer Andrew Cunanan.
There was, at first, rumors that Lady Gaga was offered the role of Versace, though they were never substantiated claims. At the Television Critics Association press tour last year, Murphy attempted to shut down the speculation.
“She’s a friend," Murphy said. "But she’s very busy this next year—she’s doing Super Bowl and then she’s doing A Star Is Born and I believe that she’s going on tour. And when you’re going to do a show like Versace, it’s a five-month commitment, it’s a very big show, we’re shooting it all over the world. So I just don’t think with her schedule, I knew that it would never had worked. But I would love to work with her on something in the future.” What’s more, the singer also has a personal relationship with the designer, sitting front row at many of her fashion shows, having been a onetime face of the brand during the spring season of 2014, and even naming a song after the designer on her Artpop album.
As for Cruz, this is one of her first regular television roles, having acted mostly in feature films, to date. While the actress may not have the personal relationship with her subject that Gaga possesses, her award-winning skill will surely make her a perfect pick for the role. Cruz's experience as film director Pedro Almodóvar's main muse should also help her fit seamlessly into the Murphy-verse. Not to compare the Spanish auteur and the American "guilty pleasure TV" king too closely, but both like to mix up their camp with their melodrama, and both are known for giving women excellent roles.
The casting also continues Murphy's trend of bringing award-winning film actresses to television. The trend started with Jessica Lang on American Horror Story, and now includes Susan Sarandon, Angela Bassett, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Annette Bening, meanwhile, will be starring in ACS's Katrina-themed second season.
While the remainder of the Versace cast is still being pieced together, filming is expected to begin next month in Miami and Los Angeles with a premiere date set for sometime in 2018.
Watch Penelope Cruz Take W's Screen Test: