The ‘American Crime Story’ premiere explores Andrew Cunanan’s connection to Gianni Versace, the man he killed. What really happened between these two? Did they really know each other?
The first episode of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story focuses on the brutal murder of Gianni Versace (played by Edgar Ramirez) on July 15, 1997. Serial killer Andrew Cunanan (played by Darren Criss) walks right up to the fashion designer and shoots him twice at point-blank range. In the episode, Andrew claims to have met Versace, but he’s known for embellishing and making up stories. What is the truth? Was Andrew’s connection to Gianni only in his head? The series is based on Maureen Orth’s book, Vulgar Favors. Maureen covered the Versace case and Andrew extensively for Vanity Fair. In her book, Maureen writes about how Andrew did meet Gianni in the V.I.P. room of the nightclub Colossus with his friend Eli Gould in San Francisco in 1990.
Here’s the excerpt (page 80) from Maureen’s book detailing Andrew and Gianni’s interaction: “The designer walked in with an entourage, including Antonio D’Amico and Val Caniparoli, who quickly introduced him to a few people. After about fifteen minutes of chitchat and waves of young men eager to meet him, Versace began to survey the room. He noticed Andrew standing with Eli, cocked his head, and walked in their direction. ‘I know you,’ he said to Andrew. ‘Lago di Como, no?’ Versace was referring to the house he owned on Lake Como near the Swiss border. Reportedly he would often use the Lago di Como line when he wanted to strike up a conversation with someone.
Andrew was thrilled and Eli couldn’t believe it. ‘That’s right,’ Andrew answered. ‘Thank you for remembering, Signore Versace.’ Then Andrew introduced Eli to Versace, who made polite talk about whether they had seen the opera. (They hadn’t.) Eli and Andrew then drifted back down to the dance floor.”
The Versace family has always been adamant that Gianni and Andrew did not know each other. In a recent statement, the Versace family called Maureen’s book “gossip and speculation.” Maureen stresses to Vanity Fair that her book is “absolutely fact-based, on-the-record reporting.” Maureen reports in her book that Andrew’s friend, Doug Stubblefield, says he saw Andrew with Gianni and Gianni’s boyfriend, Antonio D’Amico, a few months later in a car together. Yet, the man Andrew, Gianni, and Antonio were allegedly with, Harry de Wildt, claims he never met Andrew. Another friend of Andrew’s, Steven Gomer, claims that Andrew told him that he was with Gianni at the performance of the opera, Capriccio, in 1990. Gianni had designed the costumes for the production. The series shows this alleged interaction between Gianni and Andrew in the premiere. With this much back and forth between the Versace family, Maureen, and the show, it appears we’ll likely never know exactly what happened.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.
HollywoodLifers, what are you thoughts on Gianni and Andrew’s relationship? What do you believe? Let us know!