“I worked a lot with a dialogue coach to find the way that Donatella speaks, which is a little different from the way she spoke in the Nineties,” Cruz told fellow actress Gwyneth Paltrow in Interview magazine. “The accent that she has, it’s Italian with a very international flavour – very rock’n’roll. I didn’t want to do an imitation of Donatella, or a caricature. I wanted to try to capture the essence of who she is.”
Of taking on the role from Lady Gaga, who was originally cast in the third instalment of Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story series, Cruz “had a few questions about how he was going to handle her portrayal,” she admitted. “This is a delicate story, because I’m playing someone who is alive, someone who lost her brother in a horrible way, and someone who still misses him very much 20 years later.”
The Spanish actress spoke “a little bit” with the designer to get a grasp on the family history. “I needed that conversation,” Cruz elaborated. “I really hope that when she sees the show, she’s going to be happy. I’m sure there are going to be scenes that are hard for her to watch, because it’s a lot about the loss of her brother, which, of course, I have so much respect for. I did it with all my love.”
The series, which stars Edgar Ramirez as Gianni Versace and Ricky Martin as his longtime partner Antonio D’Amico, focuses on the 1997 murder of the designer, and the aftermath. “From that place of devastation, [Donatella] had to keep this company going in his honour. I don’t know if she ever said this, but it was a way of keeping him alive.” In the wake of her spring/summer 2018 showcase, which was a tribute to Gianni and the resounding hit of Milan Fashion Week, anticipation surrounding Versace: American Crime Story couldn’t be higher.