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Ryan Murphy has never been one to shy away from bold storytelling and provocative themes. Last year’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, which Murphy executive produced, was about the iconic trial but also delved into issues of racism, sexism, and fame obsession in our culture.
For ACS‘s second installment, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, the TV producer hopes to once again use a crime as a way to explore social issues. In particular, Murphy sees the 1997 murder of the fashion designer as a chance to discuss sexuality and homophobia in the 1990s. “The more I had read about it the more I was startled by the fact that [Versace killer Andrew Cunanan] really was only allowed to get away with it because of homophobia,” says Murphy. “There was this great apathy about it and nobody cared and I think part of that was because it seemed like gay people were disposable in our culture.”
He also believes the current political climate makes Versace‘s themes even more relevant. “I think it does open a discussion and I think it’s the perfect timing based on this president we have,” says Murphy. “One of the reasons I wanted to do this was I felt that Obama was a president who I revered. He was my president. I felt there was so much progress in terms of gay rights and rights for any marginalized group of people. Suddenly, it felt like Trump is inaugurated and the door closed and there’s fear again and they’re trying to take away everything that we fought for for so long. This is a bracing cold slap against the policies that the current government has. We celebrate gay people and gay creativity. So I think it’s the perfect time to put that on.”