Penelope Cruz Is Heading To TV In A Big, Dark Way

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A recent TV trend has seen big name movie stars moving to the small screen for roles in shows, for both ongoing gigs and anthology series. Now, Penelope Cruz herself has signed on for a major TV role that should take her to some pretty dark places. She has officially landed the role of Donatella Versace in the next season of Ryan Murphy's American Crime Story.

Season 3 of American Crime Story will follow the story of the murder of famous fashion designer Gianni Versace. Penelope Cruz will play Versace's sister Donatella. She joins the cast currently comprised of Edgar Ramirez and Darren Criss, who will play Versace and his murderer Andrew Cunanan, respectively. The third season of the FX anthology drama will fittingly be called Versace: American Crime Story.

Rumor had it back in November that Lady Gaga would play Donatella Versace in the third season of American Crime Story, which actually seemed quite plausible at the time. Lady Gaga is a veteran of Ryan Murphy anthologies, having appeared in two seasons of American Horror Story. She is also friends with the real life Donatella Versace. News that Penelope Cruz will tackle the role for Versace: American Crime Story undoubtedly comes as a surprise to any who were counting on Gaga, but Cruz should be a solid fit for the character. She has mastered many genres on the big screen, and there's no reason to believe she won't be fantastic in her first major role on the small screen.

The plot of Versace: American Crime Story will revolve around Gianni Versace's 1997 murder and the days afterward as authorities tried and very nearly failed to catch serial killer Andrew Cunanan. The narrative will be based on the book called Vulgar Favors, which was written by Maureen Orth as a chronicle of the events following Versace's murder. We can't say at this point how large a part Donatella will play in the season all about the death of her brother.

It should be interesting to see how Versace: American Crime Story plays out in comparison to The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and Katrina: American Crime Story. Although the story of Versace's murder is well-known, it doesn't have nearly the same notoriety nowadays as the trial of O.J. Simpson or the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Of course, given that Katrina hasn't yet premiered, we can't even say how the second season will compare to the first. The People v. O.J. was a hit with fans and critics alike, so expectations will be high for the next two chapters of the anthology series.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV news. Penelope Cruz is only the latest star to land a role in American Crime Story; hopefully more casting announcements will be released soon. Check out our midseason TV premiere schedule and our summer TV premiere guide for a look at all your viewing options while you wait for the next season.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.