Since its premiere last month, we have been gripped by Ryan Murphy’s latest anthology series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.
Although the title suggests the focus would be on the murder of the world-famous fashion designer in 1997, the series is in fact a great piece of social commentary on the rife homophobia that existed in the 1990s.
It follows the journey of Versace’s killer, Andrew Cunanan (played by Darren Criss), as he murders five victims between April and July in 1997.
From anti-gay discrimination by the police investigating the murders, and closeted men living doubles lives, to a naval officer having to leave his position for simply being gay, the second series of American Crime Story doesn’t sugarcoat the hardships LGBTQ people faced.
In the series, Ricky Martin plays Versace’s lover Antonio D’Amico and in a very revealing scene it’s suggested that the power couple had an open relationship.
Although it was a brief moment, the Puerto Rican singer has reflected on the importance of it being included in a mainstream television series.
Speaking about the scene, Ricky told Vulture: “I want to normalize relationships like this. It’s good for the world; it’s good for me as a gay man with kids.
“It’s important that we shed some light on power couples like [Gianni Versace and Antonio D’Amico], even though [D’Amico] was quiet and behind the scenes and he was just there supporting his man for 15 years. I also believe there was a level of homophobia going around in his family where he was hiding, even though he says, ‘My relationship was very open and free with Gianni’…”
He added: “One of the toughest scenes that I shot [was] the first, the interrogation when the FBI is investigating Antonio. It was a very excruciating scene for me.
“I mean, this guy was opening every door that was a secret from Gianni’s and Antonio’s relationship. I’m talking about bringing men into our lives. I’m talking about bringing escorts.
“That exposure is very heavy, and it can be extremely uncomfortable for me, for the family, but I’m here doing a job, and the story, once again, needs to be told, for people to see the level of unity between these two. The level of commitment after 15 years. The level of security between them and trust between them is so solid.
“We want to normalise another kind of reality for open relationships. And that’s what we’re doing. There’s absolutely nothing wrong. We’re just two very self-secure men that are completely in love with each other, that trust each other to the maximum level, and here we are. But the scene was very intense and painful.”
Edgar Ramirez plays Gianni Versace in the show, while Penelope Cruz takes on the role of Donatella Versace.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story currently airs on FX in the US on Wednesday evenings.
In the UK, the series will start on 28 February at 9pm on BBC Two.