Julia Roberts, Ryan Murphy and a pivotally placed rock all led to Penelope Cruz being cast on tonight’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.

Cruz is riveting as Gianni’s younger sister Donatella on the FX miniseries and established a rapport with executive producer Ryan Murphy on the set of 2010’s Eat, Pray, Love, the movie directed by Murphy and starring Roberts and Cruz’s husband, Javier Bardem.

“I think she came on set on one on the worst shooting days I’ve had in my life and sat next to me on a rock smelling like talcum powder and perfume and was so polite,” Murphy revealed to EW on the Miami set of Versace in May. “I always thought my first impression she must think I’m insane. We had a weird day once where we were on a yacht with Julia Roberts. When I called her on the phone, she was instantly interested because she had never done anything like that. She had never done American television. She said ‘I’m afraid to do this so I think that’s why I should do it.'”

The second installment of American Crime Story premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on FX.

Episode Recaps

The Assassination of Gianni Versace
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