‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace’ Writer Tom Rob Smith Says British Drama Is Moving Into Line With U.S.

British writer Tom Rob Smith, who wrote on FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace, has claimed that UK broadcasters are starting to make writers more central to the process of creating drama, bringing them into line with the U.S. business.
Rob Smith, who also wrote Working Title TV’s London Spy for BBC Two and BBC America, was an executive producer for the latest instalment of Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story franchise, which ended in the U.S. last night and airs on…

British writer Tom Rob Smith, who wrote on FX's The Assassination of Gianni Versace, has claimed that UK broadcasters are starting to make writers more central to the process of creating drama, bringing them into line with the U.S. business. Rob Smith, who also wrote Working Title TV's London Spy for BBC Two and BBC America, was an executive producer for the latest instalment of Ryan Murphy's American Crime Story franchise, which ended in the U.S. last night and airs on…

Ryan Murphy on ‘Versace’ Finale, ‘9-1-1’ Plans and His Crazy Year Ahead

FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” was a long and grueling shoot that stretched from May to January, hopscotched the country from Miami to Minnesota to Chicago to San Francisco, and was lensed virtually all on location. The houseboat where Versace killer Andrew Cunanan was trapped as he met his end was […]

FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” was a long and grueling shoot that stretched from May to January, hopscotched the country from Miami to Minnesota to Chicago to San Francisco, and was lensed virtually all on location. The houseboat where Versace killer Andrew Cunanan was trapped as he met his end was […]

‘American Crime Story: Versace’: Darren Criss and Edgar Ramirez Unpack the Meaning Behind that Mysterious Final Scene

Even the stars of “Versace” aren’t quite sure whether the last big scene of the series is meant to be real or fantasy.

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for the ending of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” finale, “Alone.”]

The first time Darren Criss and Edgar Ramirez saw “Alone,” the complicated finale of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” they had no idea how their respective stories would end. For Ramirez, it turns out that Gianni Versace’s last scene came at the very beginning of his journey with the character.

“That was my very first scene in the show,” Ramirez said earlier this week at an “American Crime Story: Versace” screening event at the Directors Guild Theater in West Hollywood. Joined by assorted cast and crew from the entire season, Ramirez and his scene partner Darren Criss both spoke about their reactions to the finale — which they had just seen for the very first time, and were still struggling to process.

In one of the final moments of “Alone,” as federal agents are descending on Andrew Cunanan’s hideout, we trip back to the past, as Versace (Ramirez) and Andrew (Criss) have a conversation on the stage of an empty opera house. After a long discussion about the nature of beauty in the world, Andrew leans in for a kiss. Even when Versace gently declines, the sequence still ends on a note of peace and calm. Immediately shattering that atmosphere, the show snaps to its present, when Andrew fatally shoots himself in the head.

Although the two knew that scene might be used, it came as a surprise to both actors to see that on-screen conversation between their two characters placed where it ended up. For them, it created a sense of ambiguity about whether or not that interaction was meant to have occurred in real life.

“Were we watching one of Andrew’s machinations? Were we watching something that actually happened? I love the way that I wasn’t even sure anymore. And I kinda like that, because it made me think, ‘Is everything I just saw a machination of Andrew’s brain?’ I don’t know,” Criss said. “It was very effective to me because he lived in this nebulous sort of world. Considering how pivotal, whether fictional or non-fictional, that moment would have been, to put it right there at the end of his life was quite powerful to me.”

Added Ramirez, “I think that’s the beauty of good storytelling — that, in the end, it will fill the holes and connect the dots that reality can’t. No one will ever know what went through the heads of Gianni Versace or Andrew Cunanan. No one will ever really know if these two guys ever looked each other in the eye and connected or passed any kind of energy to each other.”

For Criss, the moment also crystalized an idea that he’d had after hearing questions about how many other Andrew moments actually transpired the way they did in real life.

“People constantly ask us, ‘Did that really happen?!’ I don’t know. But that’s irrelevant to me. It actually doesn’t matter to me. It’s the emotional content that we’re providing for this particular narrative. And that’s what hits me harder,” Criss said. “Whether it happened or not, if Andrew had believed that the emotional value of a moment like that happened, whether it was a handshake, a high five, a glance across the room, or a poster on his wall, the emotional content of that scene existed in his brain. It’s what carried him through what we watched these past nine episodes. That’s what’s more important to me.”

THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY "Alone" Episode 9 (Airs Wednesday, March 21, 10:00 p.m. e/p) -- Pictured: Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan. CR: Ray Mickshaw/FX

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”

Ray Mickshaw/FX

Many of the panelists reiterated that for them, the series is a reflection of love in many forms. Whether it was Marilyn Miglin (Judith Light), who returns in the finale for an affecting coda, Versace’s partner Antonio (Ricky Martin), or the memories of lost companions that Ronnie (Max Greenfield) refers to in his passionate interrogation room monologue, that message came through for them just as much as the pain that one young man inflicted twenty years ago.

“You know what really happened? The love between Gianni and Antonio. That really happened. I met people who know and were witnesses of that love. I think that’s what the show brings. We all feel that we know the story, but the reality is that we didn’t know the story,” Ramirez said.

In assembling the rest of the episode, writer Tom Rob Smith wanted to address the kind of reality that Andrew would have created for himself. But a central driving question of this episode came down to why Andrew would decide not to continue his moment of notoriety into a drawn-out court case.

“You’re looking at a man who everyone said is obsessed with fame, why does he not take the showcase of a trial? This is someone who was put on this earth to impress people. That’s what he wanted to do. He lost his money, he lost his looks, he lost the ability to impress people, and he turns to notoriety,” Smith said. “But I think when he gets to this endpoint, I think he’s disgusted with himself. That comes through very strongly in this episode. This is someone who wanted to be loved and who screwed that up so badly that when that news coverage fades, he’s left with this sense of profound shame. That was at the heart of the episode.”

Read More: ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace’ Writer On Why Equality Means More Complicated Gay Villains

Part of that process involved digging deep into what really happened during the Cunanan manhunt. Key scenes at the Miami Beach marina, the state of Andrew’s hideout, and even the priest’s refusal to take Antonio’s hand at Versace’s funeral all came from verified accounts of the aftermath of the murders.

“We know that the thing with the boat, they found bits of bread and Andrew’s newspaper clippings. We know that he was trying to escape. His dad did say that he rang him. That is all true. The ‘A Name to Be Remembered By’ title is the title that Modesto Cunanan wanted Andrew’s life to be called,” Smith said. “Actually, when you look at it, there were loads of fragments that were absolutely true. The Versace magazines by the head, again, that was real. And the coverage is all archive. We’re just trying to string them together.”

Executive producer Brad Simpson explained that the process of putting together the final episode was something that came at the very end of the process, a more gradual way to piece together the culmination of a season-long reverse approach to understanding the crime.

“It was the hardest episode. It was the only one that we didn’t have a plan at the beginning of how it was going to lay out. I think [Tom] did a brilliant job figuring out exactly how to let you know what’s going on inside Andrew’s hand and surmise what might have been happening,” Simpson said.

“We’re dealing with fragments, but when you have ten pieces of a puzzle and they’re all a cathedral, you can kind of work out the rest,” Smith said.

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” is available to stream via FXNOW. 

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‘American Crime Story: Versace’ Finale Is a Warning About How a Killer Is Made

Star Darren Criss and writer Tom Rob Smith speak with THR about the final moments of killer Andrew Cunanan’s life and the themes of the second season of the FX anthology.read more


Star Darren Criss and writer Tom Rob Smith speak with THR about the final moments of killer Andrew Cunanan's life and the themes of the second season of the FX anthology.

read more

‘American Crime Story’ Fact Check: Did Andrew Cunanan’s Dad Really Lie About Selling His Movie Rights?

(Note: This post contains spoilers for the finale episode of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.”)

The last days of Andrew Cunanan on “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” find the killer hiding out in Miami as police hunt him, while he watches news coverage of himself on TV.

Cunanan (Darren Criss) sees a number of people from his life in the news coverage about him in the wake of his murder of Gianni Versace (Edgar Ramirez). That includes a plea for him to surrender, recorded by his longtime friend, Lizzie Cote (Annaleigh Ashford), that the real-life version of Cote actually recorded.

Also Read: ‘American Crime Story’ Fact Check: Did Andrew Cunanan’s Dad Really Flee the Country?

Another news interview that appears on “American Crime Story” also has a big impact on Cunanan in his final days. After calling his father, Modesto (Jon Jon Briones), Cunanan sees him on TV giving an interview to reporters. In the interview, Modesto tells the reporters that Cunanan put his father in charge of selling the rights to his life story to Hollywood — even though, on the show, Cunanan and Modesto never talked about that.

So did that interview ever happen, and Modesto really sell those rights?

It’s hard to be sure if Modesto appeared on TV in the days after Cunanan killed Versace. He did talk to at least someone at the Associated Press, according to reporter Maureen Orth, who wrote “Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History,” but it doesn’t seem likely that Modesto was selling interviews in the few days after Versace’s death, like he does on “American Crime Story.”

Also Read: ‘American Crime Story’: Watch Jeff Trail’s Real ’48 Hours’ Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Interview (Video)

In Episode 8 of “American Crime Story,” Modesto leaves the U.S. after the authorities com after him for committing fraud as a stock broker. He really did flee to Manila, selling his family’s two homes and cars and leaving his family behind. Orth writes that Modesto first found out about Cunanan’s crimes from a Filipino politician. After that, he said he was ambushed by reporters, Orth writes.

Modesto did tell reporters that his son was not a homosexual, as is shown on “American Crime Story.” But the part about the movie rights seems to have come up after Cunanan killed himself as police closed in.

In “Vulgar Favors,” Orth writes that Modesto claimed he was in contact with Cunanan “to the end,” and that he really did say Cunanan wanted the book and movie about his life story to be called “A Name to Remember Me By.” That’s the title Modesto mentions on “American Crime Story.” Orth writes in her 1999 book that Modesto wanted $500,000 for the rights.

Modesto also said he started work on a documentary about his son’s life — although told from the perspective of his father — according to a 1997 report from the Los Angeles Times. But that report was published in September, not in July, when Cunanan died. So if Modesto and Cunanan really didn’t talk about the rights, as “American Crime Story” suggests, then Cunanan might never have known about his father’s plans.

As Orth puts it, Cunanan’s parents largely were not available to reporters in the aftermath of Versace’s death, which is why they started interviewing anyone they could find who was close to Cunanan — including people who apparently barely knew him. So it seems unlikely that, as seen on “American Crime Story,” Cunanan would have had the crushing experience of seeing his father sell him out on TV.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘American Crime Story’ Fact Check: Did Andrew Cunanan’s Dad Really Flee the Country?

‘American Crime Story’: Watch Jeff Trail’s Real ’48 Hours’ Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Interview (Video)

‘American Crime Story’: Yes, Marilyn Miglin Still Sells Perfume

‘American Crime Story’: Here’s What Andrew Cunanan Did in Miami That Wasn’t on the Show

‘American Crime Story’: Did Andrew Cunanan Really Wrap People in Duct Tape?

(Note: This post contains spoilers for the finale episode of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.”)

The last days of Andrew Cunanan on “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” find the killer hiding out in Miami as police hunt him, while he watches news coverage of himself on TV.

Cunanan (Darren Criss) sees a number of people from his life in the news coverage about him in the wake of his murder of Gianni Versace (Edgar Ramirez). That includes a plea for him to surrender, recorded by his longtime friend, Lizzie Cote (Annaleigh Ashford), that the real-life version of Cote actually recorded.

Another news interview that appears on “American Crime Story” also has a big impact on Cunanan in his final days. After calling his father, Modesto (Jon Jon Briones), Cunanan sees him on TV giving an interview to reporters. In the interview, Modesto tells the reporters that Cunanan put his father in charge of selling the rights to his life story to Hollywood — even though, on the show, Cunanan and Modesto never talked about that.

So did that interview ever happen, and Modesto really sell those rights?

It’s hard to be sure if Modesto appeared on TV in the days after Cunanan killed Versace. He did talk to at least someone at the Associated Press, according to reporter Maureen Orth, who wrote “Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History,” but it doesn’t seem likely that Modesto was selling interviews in the few days after Versace’s death, like he does on “American Crime Story.”

In Episode 8 of “American Crime Story,” Modesto leaves the U.S. after the authorities com after him for committing fraud as a stock broker. He really did flee to Manila, selling his family’s two homes and cars and leaving his family behind. Orth writes that Modesto first found out about Cunanan’s crimes from a Filipino politician. After that, he said he was ambushed by reporters, Orth writes.

Modesto did tell reporters that his son was not a homosexual, as is shown on “American Crime Story.” But the part about the movie rights seems to have come up after Cunanan killed himself as police closed in.

In “Vulgar Favors,” Orth writes that Modesto claimed he was in contact with Cunanan “to the end,” and that he really did say Cunanan wanted the book and movie about his life story to be called “A Name to Remember Me By.” That’s the title Modesto mentions on “American Crime Story.” Orth writes in her 1999 book that Modesto wanted $500,000 for the rights.

Modesto also said he started work on a documentary about his son’s life — although told from the perspective of his father — according to a 1997 report from the Los Angeles Times. But that report was published in September, not in July, when Cunanan died. So if Modesto and Cunanan really didn’t talk about the rights, as “American Crime Story” suggests, then Cunanan might never have known about his father’s plans.

As Orth puts it, Cunanan’s parents largely were not available to reporters in the aftermath of Versace’s death, which is why they started interviewing anyone they could find who was close to Cunanan — including people who apparently barely knew him. So it seems unlikely that, as seen on “American Crime Story,” Cunanan would have had the crushing experience of seeing his father sell him out on TV.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'American Crime Story' Fact Check: Did Andrew Cunanan's Dad Really Flee the Country?

'American Crime Story': Watch Jeff Trail's Real '48 Hours' Don't Ask Don't Tell Interview (Video)

'American Crime Story': Yes, Marilyn Miglin Still Sells Perfume

'American Crime Story': Here's What Andrew Cunanan Did in Miami That Wasn't on the Show

'American Crime Story': Did Andrew Cunanan Really Wrap People in Duct Tape?

‘American Crime Story’: Here’s Lizzie Coté’s Plea for Andrew Cunanan to Surrender

(Note: This post contains spoilers for the finale episode of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.”)

The finale of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” finally catches up to the end of killer Andrew Cunanan’s tale. On the run in Miami after committing five murders, and all over the news because one of his victims was Versace, the episode finds Cunanan watching news coverage about his own manhunt.

Cunanan (Darren Criss), hiding out in the houseboat where he’ll later take his own life as police close in, watches network news coverage about the story. And in the “American Crime Story” version of events, he sees interviews with Marilyn Miglin (Judith Light), the wife of Cunanan’s third victim Lee Miglin (Mike Farrell), and Lizzie Coté (Annaleigh Ashford), Cunanan’s longtime friend. In the show, Cunanan watches as Coté pleads for him to surrender to the police.

Also Read: ‘American Crime Story’: Here’s What Andrew Cunanan Did in Miami That Wasn’t on the Show

Lizzie Coté appeared in several earlier episodes of “American Crime Story.” She met Cunanan when he was still in school, and the pair were so close that Cunanan was the godfather of her children. The real-life Coté did tape a plea for Cunanan to surrender to police after the murder of Versace (played by Edgar Ramirez on “American Crime Story”), as the Washington Post reported at the time.

Reporter Maureen Orth, author of the 1999 book “Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History” on which “American Crime Story” is based, writes that Coté recorded the statement at the request of the FBI, and used the nicknames of her children and other coded language of their friendship to try to get through to him. The book includes her full plea to Cunanan:

“The Andrew Cunanan I know is not a violent person,” Coté said, as Orth reports. “The Andrew Cunanan who is the godfather to my children is not a thief…. Please stop doing what you’re doing. I know that the most important thing to you in the world is what others think of you. You still have a chance to show the entire world the side of you that I and your godchildren know. The time has come for this to end peacefully…. D.D. loves you, Schmoo. I bring with me a special message from our papoose. Grimmy says she loves her Uncle Monkey and hopes that you’ll remember her always. Your birthday will soon be here, and someone else who loves you will be five years old.”

Also Read: ‘American Crime Story’ Fact Check: Did Andrew Cunanan’s Dad Really Flee the Country?

“Vulgar Favors also notes that “Coté ended with a Latin phrase that Andrew would remember from his days as an altar boy: ‘Dominus vobiscum’ (The Lord be with you).”

In “American Crime Story,” Cunanan sees Lizzie’s plea on TV. According to Orth’s reporting in 1997, however, he never got the chance. Lizzie recorded the statement in Los Angeles on the day Cunanan died.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘American Crime Story’: Watch Jeff Trail’s Real ’48 Hours’ Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Interview (Video)

‘American Crime Story’: Yes, Marilyn Miglin Still Sells Perfume

‘American Crime Story’: Did Andrew Cunanan Really Wrap People in Duct Tape?

‘American Crime Story’ Fact Check: Did Gianni Versace Have AIDS?

What the Hell Is ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story’ Actually Based On?

(Note: This post contains spoilers for the finale episode of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.”)

The finale of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” finally catches up to the end of killer Andrew Cunanan’s tale. On the run in Miami after committing five murders, and all over the news because one of his victims was Versace, the episode finds Cunanan watching news coverage about his own manhunt.

Cunanan (Darren Criss), hiding out in the houseboat where he’ll later take his own life as police close in, watches network news coverage about the story. And in the “American Crime Story” version of events, he sees interviews with Marilyn Miglin (Judith Light), the wife of Cunanan’s third victim Lee Miglin (Mike Farrell), and Lizzie Coté (Annaleigh Ashford), Cunanan’s longtime friend. In the show, Cunanan watches as Coté pleads for him to surrender to the police.

Lizzie Coté appeared in several earlier episodes of “American Crime Story.” She met Cunanan when he was still in school, and the pair were so close that Cunanan was the godfather of her children. The real-life Coté did tape a plea for Cunanan to surrender to police after the murder of Versace (played by Edgar Ramirez on “American Crime Story”), as the Washington Post reported at the time.

Reporter Maureen Orth, author of the 1999 book “Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History” on which “American Crime Story” is based, writes that Coté recorded the statement at the request of the FBI, and used the nicknames of her children and other coded language of their friendship to try to get through to him. The book includes her full plea to Cunanan:

“The Andrew Cunanan I know is not a violent person,” Coté said, as Orth reports. “The Andrew Cunanan who is the godfather to my children is not a thief…. Please stop doing what you’re doing. I know that the most important thing to you in the world is what others think of you. You still have a chance to show the entire world the side of you that I and your godchildren know. The time has come for this to end peacefully…. D.D. loves you, Schmoo. I bring with me a special message from our papoose. Grimmy says she loves her Uncle Monkey and hopes that you’ll remember her always. Your birthday will soon be here, and someone else who loves you will be five years old.”

“Vulgar Favors also notes that “Coté ended with a Latin phrase that Andrew would remember from his days as an altar boy: ‘Dominus vobiscum’ (The Lord be with you).”

In “American Crime Story,” Cunanan sees Lizzie’s plea on TV. According to Orth’s reporting in 1997, however, he never got the chance. Lizzie recorded the statement in Los Angeles on the day Cunanan died.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'American Crime Story': Watch Jeff Trail's Real '48 Hours' Don't Ask Don't Tell Interview (Video)

'American Crime Story': Yes, Marilyn Miglin Still Sells Perfume

'American Crime Story': Did Andrew Cunanan Really Wrap People in Duct Tape?

'American Crime Story' Fact Check: Did Gianni Versace Have AIDS?

What the Hell Is 'The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story' Actually Based On?

‘The Assassination Of Gianni Versace’ Season Finale: What Does Designer’s Murder Mean 20 Years Later?

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details about tonight’s season finale of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, “Alone” on FX.
Tonight we returned to the July 15, 1997 crime scene where serial killer Andrew Cunanan guns down famed Italian designer Gianni Versace on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion, and a manhunt pursues. Having once been tested with an I.Q of 147, Cunanan was brilliant and he was able to dodge the Feds and change his appearance…

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details about tonight's season finale of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, "Alone" on FX. Tonight we returned to the July 15, 1997 crime scene where serial killer Andrew Cunanan guns down famed Italian designer Gianni Versace on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion, and a manhunt pursues. Having once been tested with an I.Q of 147, Cunanan was brilliant and he was able to dodge the Feds and change his appearance…