Ryan Murphy is the A-List Actress Whisperer. Over the years, he's been able to lure top tier thespian talent to his television shows—from Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, and Angela Bassett in the American Horror Story franchises, to Julia Roberts in The Normal Heart, Susan Sarandon (with Lange) and Catherine-Zeta Jones in Feud, and just recently, the peerless Annette Bening for Katrina: American Crime Story.
Katrina is the second installment of American Crime Story, following the acclaimed first season focused on O.J. Simpson, and will premiere in 2018. Versace: American Crime Story will also premiere next year, after Katrina, and will dramatize the murder of famed fashion designer Gianni Versace (played by Edgar Ramirez) by serial killer Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss). While Lady Gaga was a possible shoe-in for the role of Gianni's sister and human work of art Donatella Versace, Variety reports that role has gone to Oscar-winner Penélope Cruz.
This will be the first regular TV gig for Cruz, who became the first Spanish actress to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress (for 2006's Volver). A longtime muse to queer spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, Cruz had her breakthrough acting roles in his films Live Flesh and All About My Mother.
Related | The Studs of Almodóvar
She then ascended to stateside stardom in films like Vanilla Sky and Blow, earning Oscar nominations for Almodóvar's Volver and the otherwise forgettable Nine, and winning Best Supporting Actress for Woody Allen's Vicki Cristina Barcelona. Since marrying fellow Oscar-winning Spaniard Javier Bardem in 2010, Cruz has been flying under the radar, appearing last year in the ill-fated Zoolander 2.
Based on the book Vulgar Favors by Maureen Orth, Versace: American Crime Story starts production next month. Though Pepe Cruz is a surprising, and wholly welcome, choice for Donatella, she's got some big, Gina Gershon-sized stilettoes to fill.
Not to mention the high bar/wet bar set by Maya Rudolph.
Then again, some genius just isn't meant to be replicated.