Tom Rob Smith has written novels and TV shows about murder before, but with his newest project, ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace,’ he’s tackled his first story based on real events. The family of the slain fashion icon has slammed the FX series. Smith tells us about the challenges of writing about real people, and trying to make sense of Andrew Cunanan, the brutal killer who took the lives of 5 men, including Versace, in the course of three months. And on the news banter, women are speaking up about their salaries in an effort to improve pay parity.
FROM THIS EPISODE
In the next wave of the #MeToo movement, women in the industry are breaking long-held taboos about talking about salary.
- Octavia Spencer told a moving story at a Sundance panel about teaming up with Jessica Chastain on a movie, and Chastain demanding Spencer get paid as much as she did. The result for Spencer? Five times her normal salary.
- On the TV side of things, some women writers have launched a Google doc where people can anonymously enter their salary, and people can see roughly who is making what from each studio.
- It looks like CBS and Viacom are set to re-combine, but there may well be a battle between Shari Redstone and Les Moonves along the way.
The ‘Assassination of Gianni Versace,’ the newest installment in the FX anthology series American Crime Story, begins with the 1997 murder of the Italian fashion mogul on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion.
The series then goes back in time, tracing killer Andrew Cunanan’s life, including the 3-month spree in which he murdered four men before turning his gun on Versace.
All nine episodes in the series were written by our guest today, Tom Rob Smith. At one point, early in the series, Smith posits a situation in which Cunanan, played by Darren Criss, meets Versace, played by Edgar Ramirez, a few years before the shooting at a San Francisco nightclub, and then later at an opera where Versace designed the costumes.
The series, and those possible meetings, are based on the book ‘Vulgar Favors’ by journalist Maureen Orth. The Versace family was angered by Orth’s account so it’s not surprising that they have also slammed Smith’s television adaptation.
Smith talks about the challenges of writing about real people and addresses some of the family’s points of contention, including the decision to portray Versace at HIV positive.
Smith is a prolific writer, whose novels include ‘Child 44,’ which was adapted into a movie. He also wrote the stylish five-part BBC thriller, ‘London Spy.’
That series, and much of Smith’s oeuvre, is centered around a gruesome homicide. While Smith didn’t set out to be the go-to writer for murder, he explains why has proven to be a compelling subject and an interesting mechanism for exploring society.
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