On July 15, 1997, Gianni Versace was returning home from a morning walk after purchasing an Italian newspaper at his favorite café when he was shot twice in the head on the steps of his mansion. In the execution-style killing, Gianni’s murderer looked him in the eyes moments before he fired the .40 caliber weapon through his left cheek.
Now, after much anticipation, people will finally get to learn more details about that fateful day — and the events leading up to it — on FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. In the series, which airs tonight at 10 p.m. EST, producers examine the shocking murder of the legendary fashion designer — and they’ve put together quite an A-lister cast to do so. Darren Criss and Penelope Cruz are set to star in key roles, while Max Greenfield and Ricky Martin will appear in supporting roles.
Since his untimely death, Gianni’s partner, Antonio D’Amico — who witnessed the aftermath — has spoken out. “I felt as if my blood had turned to ice,” he told The Guardian of hearing gunshots outside the Miami mansion. The 58-year-old and the butler went outside to investigate. “The house had stained glass windows so we couldn’t see what had happened from inside, so we had to open the gate. I saw Gianni lying on the steps, with blood around him. At that point, everything went dark. I was pulled away, I didn’t see anymore.”
The scene has been recreated and will live in infamy, thanks ACS, in which he’s portrayed by Ricky Martin. According to Antonio — who dated the much older designer for 15 years, until his death — the scene isn’t portrayed well. He explained, “The picture of Ricky Martin holding the body in his arms is ridiculous. Maybe it’s the director’s poetic license, but that is not how I reacted.”
Ricky Martin in character as Antonio on the ACS set.
In the years that followed Gianni’s death, things were understandably difficult for Antonio, 58. Following the murder, he struggled with depression and saw a therapist for the first time. But now — 20 years later — he said he’s finally found peace.
“Sincerely, after two decades, I will always be connected to Gianni as a person I loved for more than 15 years,” he said. “But today, I am a different person… the world continues to go around… You can look back at the past until a certain point, [but] then you need to look ahead to the future.”
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story premieres Jan. 17 at 10 p.m. on FX.