Pari Dukovic/FX

'The Assassination of Gianni Versace' Will Tell A Chilling Tale

Ryan Murphy's anthology series, American Crime Story is back, and for its second season the show will explore the assassination of Gianni Versace. But since the show's first installment, The People v. O.J. Simpson, was only made up of 10 episodes, you may be wondering: how many episodes is The Assassination of Gianni Versace?

Interestingly enough, unlike the show’s freshman season, The Assassination of Gianni Versace will consist of nine episodes total, which we can only hope is enough to appropriately tell the story of the famed designer’s death at the hands of Andrew Cunanan. And while The People v. O.J. Simpson was based on the true crime book The Run of His Life by attorney Jeffrey Toobin, The Assassination of Gianni Versace for American Crime Story Season 2 has taken similar inspiration and is based on Maureen Orth's best-seller Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History.

However in a statement obtained by Entertainment Weekly, the Versace family made it clear they they have no connection to the installment of the FX series and claim that the series is fictional:

The Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series about the death of Mr. Gianni Versace. Since Versace did not authorize the book on which it is partly based nor has it taken part in the writing of the screenplay, this TV series should only be considered as a work of fiction.

FX and 20th Century Fox responded with their own statement in defense of the upcoming season:

Like the original American Crime Story series The People vs. O.J. Simpson, which was based on Jeffrey Toobin’s non-fiction bestseller The Run of His Life, FX’s follow-up The Assassination of Gianni Versace is based on Maureen Orth’s heavily researched and authenticated non-fiction best-seller Vulgar Favors which examined the true-life crime spree of Andrew Cunanan. We stand by the meticulous reporting of Ms. Orth.

Since then, the Versace family has released an additional second statement, calling the series "sad and reprehensible." But despite the conflicting messages about the authenticity of American Crime Story Season 2, the plan is still to air all nine episodes throughout the upcoming weeks. Instead of being as simple as showing Versace’s life and death, though, the series is also going to delve into the life and psyche of his killer, Cunanan, who committed suicide eight days after Versace’s murder. Since Cunanan took his own life before being able to be arrested, this also means he was never officially convicted of the crime.

After a public screening of The Assassination of Gianni Versace in New York, some of the cast participated in a Q&A, including Darren Criss, who plays the on-screen version of Versace’s killer. "Stories that bend people’s sense of empathy are what interest me," he said during the Q&A. "We’re trying to humanize somebody who is so conventionally vilified."

Murphy added to that idea with, "We’re not interested in the killer-of-the-week approach. We’re trying to understand the psychology of someone who would be driven to do those deeds."

With the success of American Crime Story’s first season earning 22 Emmy nominations and nine Emmy wins, just to name a few of the show’s accomplishments, Murphy no doubt has high expectations for the show’s second season. With the exception of Scream Queens, which lasted two seasons before its cancellation, most of Murphy's series tend to have long runs with very little slump in any of the seasons, And with nine episodes for American Crime Story Season 2, there will be no room for scenes that drag on or unnecessarily drawn out plots.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace airs on FX on Jan. 17 at 10 p.m. EST.

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