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American Crime Story: Ryan Murphy on Versace murder season

Plus, Gaga as Donatella?

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One of the most exciting projects on Ryan Murphy’s production horizon is the follow-up to his game-changing American Crime Story. Actually, make that two follow-ups.

Murphy took the stage at a very special panel at Entertainment Weekly’s PopFest on Sunday to reveal details about the dual forthcoming installments of Crime Story, the Emmy-winning series which launched its inaugural season centered on the O.J. Simpson trial.

As has previously been announced, seasons 2 and 3 of the series will be focused, respectively, on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the 1997 murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace. Both will be shot simultaneously with separate casts and production units, with Katrina shooting in June and the Versace tale beginning production in April.

With casting underway for both shows, the panel moderator Tim Stack commented that Murphy repertory cast member Lady Gaga would make “the perfect Donatella.”

Murphy paused. “Ya think?” he asked, and grinned. And the crowd went wild.

“I was always very moved and freaked out by the Versace assassination, and I thought it was a really great story to do because it’s a manhunt season,” Murphy said. “[Serial killer Andrew Cunanan] killed four people and then Versace, and was on the loose. We’re exploring the reasons of how he got away with being undetected.”

It became very clear, though, that Murphy’s heart lies in the story of the recently announced Versace/Cunanan season, as he went on to speak about why he felt it was so important to tackle: “The tragedy of the Versace murder was that it should not have happened. He should have been caught by then. But he wasn’t caught because he was targeting gay people, and people didn’t care. That’s why Gianni Versace was killed, for the most part. So it’s a really tragic story and I’ve always said the thing that makes me cry the most in the world is lost potential, or lost possibility, and I think he was such an amazing force taken too soon for reasons which he shouldn’t have been. That is a true crime story in America, so we’re tackling that.”

The Versace story is expected to air after season 2’s Katrina: American Crime Story, which is scheduled to premiere in 2017.

Watch panel clips from EW PopFest: 

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