LOS ANGELES, United States — The producer of an upcoming American TV series about the murder of designer Gianni Versace has defended the show from criticism, saying the family is treated "with respect and kindness."
The Versace company said in a statement issued in Italy on Monday that the series was "an act of fiction" given that it was based on Maureen Orth's 1999 book "Vulgar Favors." It said it "did not authorise and was not involved in the television series."
"The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story" dramatises the violent death of Versace in a shooting at his Miami mansion in 1997.
Executive producer Ryan Murphy told Hollywood trade publication Variety at a Los Angeles event that Versace's sister, Donatella, sent actress Penelope Cruz flowers when Cruz was representing the series at the Golden Globes ceremony on Sunday.
Edgar Ramirez plays Gianni Versace and Cruz plays Donatella Versace in the nine-part series by Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's FX cable network that will start broadcasting on January 17. Donatella is artistic director and vice president of the privately held fashion company.
"I don't know if she (Donatella) is going to watch the show, but if she did I think that she would see that we treat her and her family with respect and kindness," Murphy told Variety on Tuesday night.
"She really is a feminist role model in my book, because she had to step into an impossible situation, which she did with grace and understanding. I think that she really loves Penelope and knows that Penelope would never do anything to represent her in a negative light," Murphy said.
Screenwriter Tom Rob Smith said the series aimed to be truthful in its spirit, even if it gets some details wrong.
"The show is full of love for him (Versace)," Smith said. "I'm sure there are points where (the family) could correct some of the smaller details, but I think the bigger picture is that this is a figure that we're celebrating and a figure that we all fell in love with."
By Jill Serjeant; Editor: Lisa Shumaker.