Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | New Delhi | Updated: March 7, 2018 1:23 am Actor Tabu in conversation with The Indian Express Deputy Editor Seema Chishti at Express Adda in New Delhi. (Photo: Express Photo Service)
This edition of Express Adda, held at The Claridges, New Delhi, hosted actor Tabu. In a discussion moderated by Deputy Editor Seema Chishti, Tabu talked about playing dark characters with layers, exploring changing relationships in modern India and what she would like to change about making movies.
On whether it’s easier to make people laugh or cry
Both are equally difficult or easy. I don’t think I set out with the intention of making them laugh, or making them cry. If I think about that then perhaps I’ll lose sight of what I’m doing. The director can have an intention of what he wants the audience to feel but with me it’s always been how well and how truly I can portray the character and how I can make it interesting; how I can do it my way and make it special. So yes, if people laugh and cry in that process, it’s great. I think it’s gratifying to hear that you’ve made people feel an emotion. That’s the ultimate reward for an artist.
I’m still trying to figure out my relationship with acting and cinema. It was never my intention to be an actress. I was always extremely anxious about exams, so I would never go to watch a film when my exams were coming close. My sister was very interested in watching movies, she managed to watch movies and do well in school but I was very nervous because I was terrible at math, in spite of the fact that my grandfather was a mathematician. It was the talk of Hyderabad, ki mathematician ki nawasi aur math mein itni kharab. Movies happened by accident, Devsaab (Dev Anand) spotted me and chose me to play his daughter. My sister was spotted by Yash Chopra to play his lead. Later, I joined college and this time I was spotted by Shekhar Kapur, who was casting for Prem. After my first film, I had sworn never to act because I did not enjoy it. I thought it took me away from school and studies and Hyderabad, and anything that took me away from Hyderabad, I didn’t like. But of course, as destiny would have it, I agreed to do that one film and I got stuck.
(Photo: Express Photo Service)
On doing challenging roles
While I enjoyed being the quintessential heroine and wearing good clothes and running around in Switzerland, I also knew that I could do more and I wanted to do more. I was just waiting for that chance and when I got those chances, I just leapt at them. It was an honour for me to play those characters in Maachis, Hu Tu Tu and Astitva at a stage when I was too young to even understand them but I think the fact that these filmmakers were coming to me with those kind of characters made me feel good about myself.
Written by Manoj Kumar R | Bengaluru | Published: January 1, 2018 6:07 pm Allu Arjun’s Naa Peru Surya Naa Illu India teaser is here
Tollywood star Allu Arjun shared the teaser, what the filmmakers describe as the first impact, of his upcoming film Naa Peru Surya Naa Illu India on Monday to celebrate the beginning of 2018. Earlier, at the pre-release function of his little brother Allu Sirish’s Okka Kshanam, Arjun seemed a bit cranky. He was not happy as his fans were continuously cheering and whistling while he spoke. And he also clearly communicated his feeling to fans.
Looks like Arjun was still under the impact of his Surya character from his upcoming film while speaking at the film event. The teaser introduces us to the ever fuming Surya, a soldier of the Indian Army. He seems like a ticking bomb waiting for somebody to push the right button so that he could explode.
“Surya means anger,” says the voice of Arjun Sarja, who is also playing an important role in the film but not seen in the teaser. The teaser gives away a few things about Surya’s character. First, he is angry. Second, he is always angry. Third, he is ready to die for the country.
The intense training that Surya gets subjected to suggests that he is aspiring to become the commando of India’s elite strike force, Paratroopers. (Have you seen Discovery channel documentary ‘India’s Paratrooper – Earning The Badge’?)
“Naa Peru Surya Naa Illu India is a movie title I’m proud of and I hope it also becomes a movie I’m proud of in my career,” said Arjun at the Okka Kshanam event. The film looks intense and promises a high-voltage action treat for the fans.
Naa Peru Surya Naa Illu India will mark the directorial debut of popular screen writer Vakkantham Vamsi. Anu Emmanuel plays the female lead, while Sarathkumar will be seen as the main antagonist.
It has music by Vishal-Shekhar duo and is bankrolled by Lagadapati Sridhar and Sirisha under Ramalakshmi Cine Creations. The film is expected to hit the screens on April 27.
Written by Kriti Sonali | Bengaluru | Published: October 1, 2018 6:33:48 pm Samantha Akkineni and husband Naga Chaitanya will celebrate their first wedding anniversary on October 6.
Samantha Akkineni and husband Naga Chaitanya will celebrate their first wedding anniversary on October 6. And looks like before the big day, the Akkineni family is on a getaway. Nagarjuna, Amala, Akhil Akkineni, Naga, Samantha and a few close friends of the family are on a vacation.
Nagarjuna Akkineni shared the family photo on his social media accounts and wrote, “Yaaayyy!!! Holidays are even more fun with family & friends with the sweet smell of success!!! #DevaDas @NameisNani @aakanksha_s30 @iamRashmika @VyjayanthiFilms.”
Nagarjuna had also shared a click as he left for the holiday.
See Akkineni family photos from the vacation:
Samantha Akkineni recently also shared photos from her romantic getaway with Naga Chaitanya. They were seen enjoying the beautiful locales of Ibiza.
See more photos of Samantha Akkineni and Naga Chaitanya from the vacation:
TV and comics fans who are familiar only with Melissa Joan Harts sunny 90s take on Sabrina the teenage witch—or her squeaky-clean 60s comic-book alter ego—may feel skeptical about Netflixs dark, horror-filled version of the story, which debuts October 26. But the truth of the matter is that this new on-screen iteration of Greendales blondest, most magical teen is actually many, many degrees tamer than the Sabrina haunting the pages of Archie Comics publications. In fact, theres a whole host of horrors on the page that may never make it to your screens.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa with art by Robert Hack, may look like a retro throwback—but it was launched in 2014 as a companion of sorts to an extremely popular Archie zombie comic called Afterlife with Archie. Aguirre-Sacasas gruesome take on the malt-sipping residents of Riverdale was such a smash hit in the comic world that he was quickly named chief creative officer of Archie Comics. He parlayed his ambitions for the company into first show-running Riverdale, and now Chilling Adventures of Sabrina—an even more direct adaptation of his own book. The comic version is only eight slim issues, and Aguirre-Sacasa abruptly halted the story in October 2017—just one month after the TV adaptation was announced. Perhaps Aguirre-Sacasa decided he wanted to save any bright Sabrina ideas for her new home at Netflix.
When Aguirre-Sacasa first conceived of Chilling Adventures, he set the action in the 1960s to further distance it from the horrors of Afterlife with Archie—in which a more modern version of Sabrina has her own role to play. This period setting prompted Aguirre-Sacasa to draw on the likes of Rosemarys Baby,The Omen, and more to inspire his blood-soaked plotlines. It also meant that some of the more progressive issues that Aguirre-Sacasa usually explores got somewhat buried: in book form, Chilling Adventures is extremely white, and and Sabrinas Patricia Highsmith-reading cousin Ambrose is merely coded as gay.
But in this new Netflix series, Aguirre-Sacasa tries to have his demonic cake and eat it too. The show still looks like its set in the 60s—even though it takes place in the modern day. Issues of sexuality, gender, and racial identity all have a part to play. But the show occasionally runs into trouble as it tries to mine the ghoulish world of Satanism and sacrifice, while also softening the go-for-broke horror of the comic. Kiernan Shipkas version of Sabrina is much sweeter than the comics Sabrina; her aunts dietary habits are less grisly; and, as far as I can tell, any whiff of undead incest (oh yeah!) has been bleached out of the new show. But if its cannibalism or the most taboo will-they, wont-they romance youre after, here are 10 crazy Chilling Adventures comic plots (and one bonus palate cleanser) that will likely never make it to Netflix.
Hilda and Zelda Are Cannibals—and They May Not Be the Only Ones: When Sabrinas aunts move her to a new home in Greendale, they pick a plum spot right across the street from the cemetery—the better to midnight snack, I suppose. The aunts make references throughout the comics to sweetbreads (a.k.a. organs) and other human delicacies, prompting Sabrinas droll cousin Ambrose to remark on their not-so-subtle taste for human flesh. Are the aunties sparing Sabrina the blood and flesh they so eagerly dish up? Well, theres no indication she eats differently than they do when at home—so perhaps shes a fine, young cannibal, too.
Betty and Veronica Are Witches: Its a shame, really, that the Netflix version of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina wont cross over with Riverdale anytime soon, because the comics witchy version of these two iconic characters is really a sight to behold. Artist Robert Hack has a lot of fun with these girls in their immaculate cheer uniforms, busting out their finest dance moves in order to conjure ghosts and ghouls and demons. In the Sabrina comic, Betty and Veronica may also be just as gay as many of their fans have long wished them to be.
What Sabrinas Dad Did to Sabrinas Mom: In both the 90s sitcom and the new Netflix series, the question of Sabrinas parentage is treated as something of a romantic affair. Her father, Edward, a warlock, fell in love with her mother, Diana, a mortal, and defied convention to produce Sabrina, who winds up caught between two worlds. Not so in the comics, where Edward is considered the books biggest threat to Sabrinas well-being. He married Diana in order to further his own power-hungry goals of creating an heir that would please his master. (That would be Satan.) Once Diana gave birth and learned what her husband intended, he drove her mad and had her locked up in an insane asylum. Not quite the Romeo and Juliet of the witching world.
Ann-Margret Is a Witch, and More: Because the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic is set in the 1960s, the pop-culture references are a bit dated. The implication that Swedish-American Bye Bye Birdie star Ann-Margret is a witch, however, is one of the more modern references in the books. Aguirre-Sacasa cited Neil Gaimans comic-book opus The Sandman as an inspiration for his new take on Sabrina. Gaiman took delight in weaving literary figures and mythological plots into his stories of gods and mortals, and so Aguirre-Sacasa, taking a page from Gaiman, also included some Rudyard Kipling yarns in his saga—and gave Salem the cats backstory a familiar Arthur Miller twist.
Thats right: Chilling Adventures expects you to keep up with the 17th century witch trials illustrated in The Crucible,Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and Bye Bye Birdie. Dont worry, the Netflix show wont be nearly so demanding.
The Devil Eats Salems Baby: What are literary references if not an excuse to have some fun? Salem—who was a randy little jerk named Samuel before he was transformed into a cat—accidentally knocks up The Crucible villain Abigail Williams, and—twist!—she and her accusatory Puritan friends wind up really being witches themselves. (We should note that Williams was also a real-life figure, as well as a character in Millers play.) When Samuel betrays her, Abigail gives their unborn baby up to the Devil . . . and, well, theres a theme of cannibalism in this book, so you can see where things go from there.
Written by Sana Farzeen | Mumbai | Published: October 1, 2018 6:51:17 pm Shaheer Sheikh plays Salim in Dastaan-E-Mohabbat.
Shaheer Sheikh will be back on television tonight with Dastaan-E-Mohabbat: Salim Anarkali. While he will play the charming Mughal prince Salim, Sonarika Bhadoria will be seen as Anarkali. At the launch of the magnum opus, Shaheer sat down for an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com.
Having already done Mahabharat, we asked him why did he opt for another costume drama. Shaheer laughed to say, “Another costume drama? No, this is Mughal-e-Azam, we just cant compare it with anything else.”
Sharing his reasons for taking up the show, the actor said, “For a long time, I have been wanting to do something in this space. The royal feel and speaking Urdu, it was on my mind. I have been in talks with Colors for a long time but nothing exciting was happening. When they called me for Salim, I instantly knew this is what I wanted to do. It is such a complex character that its a dream role for any actor.”
The 34-year-old further shared, “The only thing that I wanted to be sure was that they have the right approach towards the story. In todays time, a lot of shows change owing to the pressure of ratings. But I really liked the fact that they had a very clear vision. Yes, at the end of the day, a show has to sell, people should see it and like it. But we need to be honest with our efforts. And I think I couldnt have gotten a bigger break on Colors than this.”
Bollywood megastar Dilip Kumar has played the same role in the iconic film Mughal-e-Azam. And while Shaheer matches the look and personality of Salim, he would also have to shoulder this huge comparison.
Taking about the same, the Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi actor said, “Dilip saab is a legend, there cant be any comparison. It is because of him that a lot of us became actors. We all have a shade of him in us. What I would try to do is make it as real as possible. In a time when people actually acted, Dilip saab was so effortless. But I would not want to do what he did. I am approaching Salim in my way. I purposely didnt see the film after I signed this show for I did not want to copy him, not even unintentionally. I am reading about Salim so that I can feel his emotions and dilemma. I want to give the character my own personal take.”
While Shaheer agrees that playing a historical character is no mean feat, he shared that it is the challenge that excites him the most. “I dont want to do the regular stuff, where I am simply romancing, or coming home and saying, maa main aagaya (smiles). This is the kind of challenge that keeps me awake at night. I keep wondering how will he interact with his father. Will he have the same equation with his mother? How will Salim be with Anarkali? I keep on thinking about him all night. Although I am not into reading, I am doing it to understand his story better,” concluded the actor.
Written by Sana Farzeen | Mumbai | Published: July 29, 2018 11:19:07 pm Tara Prasad and Nisha Rasaily took home the High Fever Dance Ka Naya Tevar trophy.
The grand finale of &TVs popular dance reality show High Fever Dance Ka Naya Tevar was aired on Sunday. Tara Prasad and Nisha Rasaily were announced as the winners. The duo took home a cheque of Rs 10 lakh. Love Me India judges Himesh Reshammiya, Neha Bhasin and Guru Randhawa also graced the finale.
Just friends Tara and Nisha were consistently the top performers of the show. Taras expertise in ballet and salsa combined with Nishas prowess in Indian classical and Bollywood dance played a part in bringing them closer to the coveted High Fever trophy.
Faizan Mallik and Likhit D Jain and Tejas Verma and Anshul Kumar were announced as the first and second runner-up, taking home Rs 5 lakh and Rs 3 lakh, respectively. The other finalist jodi, brothers Akash and Suraj More were also awarded with Rs 2 lakh for winning the maximum golden hammers in the show.
On winning the High Fever title, Tara Prasad said, “I have devoted majority of my life to dance and I am overwhelmed by the love that I have received after winning this trophy along with Nisha. High Fever is the biggest milestone of our career and I only hope that we go onward and upward from here on.”
Nisha echoed his thoughts and shared, “I have performed on innumerable stages, but the High Fever stage has given me so much more than the just a trophy. I am taking home a world of learning, new skills to enhance my dancing abilities, a treasure-trove of memories and friends for a lifetime. I am thankful to my family who cheered me on throughout my journey and the judges along with our choreographers who have supported us immensely. This is the happiest day of my life!”
High Fever judge and Bollywood actor Esha Gupta said in a statement, “I am extremely proud of the winners of High Fever. Tara and Nisha have been one of the strongest contenders on the show and their chemistry as dancers has been fabulous. The emotions in their performances has always left us mesmerized. Over a span of a few weeks, I have seen them grow considerably and their journey has truly been inspirational. I hope to see this amazing jodi on the big screen soon.”
Along with Esha, choreographers Ahmed Khan and Salman Yussuf Khan also judged the show. Hosted by Priyanshu Jora, High Fever presented a unique format of competition between pairs. The show aired on &TV.
Written by Ashameera Aiyappan | Chennai | Published: August 10, 2018 9:30:43 pm Pyaar Prema Kaadhal review: Both Harish Kalyan and Raiza Wilson come up with performances that they can be proud of.
Pyaar Prema Kaadhal movie cast: Harish Kalyan, Raiza Wilson, Rekha, Anand Babu, Raja Rani Pandian, Porkodi Pyaar Prema Kaadhal movie director: Elan Pyaar Prema Kaadhal movie rating: Three stars
The first half of Pyaar Prema Kaadhal was what I thought it would be. We have Sree (Harish Kalyan) boy-next-door hero, whom we all only know too well. He is content with staring at a woman who works in the next building, says he loves her and wants to be with her. But he struggles to strike a basic conversation or even muster up the courage to say hi. On the other hand, we have Sindhuja (Raiza Wilson), the urbane woman who cusses without abandon, drinks, and has casual sex.
The first half of the film travels a path that we knew too well, but the treatment makes all the difference. We are shown a story but also made witnesses to two different sides of it. There are some great explaining stretches where we get to know what kind of a family Sree hails from. I couldnt stop smiling when the father walks out of the kitchen and says Hey Sree, look I made a dosa that is paper thin. It is an adorable moment that is right out of our kitchen. He sees his father clean his mothers tailoring machine and listens to stories about how their parents met on their wedding, lying on his mothers lap. On the other hand, Sindhuja is independent. She makes her own breakfast, drinks alcohol and plays tennis with her dad. Sree is close to his parents — they share the dinner table and go through motions of the mundane life together — but he isnt able to tell his parents about the girl he loves. On the other hand, Sindhuja shares a relationship that, on the paper can be called aloof with her dad. But she is able to tell her dad about her love life, literally. The contrast is real, and alive.
More than the clash of sensibilities, Elans treatment of it is sensible. That makes Pyaar Prema Kaadhal different. Every character gets an arc. After the casual sex, Sindhuja suggests they remain friends — Sree is flabbergasted. How can someone be friends after sex? Sindhuja explains that it just happened at the heat of the moment. I was surprised when Sree agrees to being friends. Sindhuja, on the other hand, truly falls for him. Before she could actually spell it out, he makes the usual drunk what kind of a cheap woman are you? speech. Sindhujas reaction made me sit up and that is where the movie truly begins to surprise you. Sindhuja asks the question that I have longed for every Kollywood heroine to ask for ages: If I am really the cheap woman, then what were you in love with? She walks away, leaving Sree to think about what he said. And Sree realises what went wrong and woos her back and thus begins a sensible relationship that Kollywood deserves.
I loved the fact that Elan doesnt make a villain out of anybody — not Sindhuja or Sree. It is not just Sree who gets a character arc, so does Sindhuja. When she falters, she doesnt stand on a pedestal and she makes up for it. She isnt the pampered, materialistic brat that modern women are shown to be. In a lovely moment, Sree gifts her a ring. While I was expecting an ecstatic reaction that jewellery ads are infamous for, Sindhuja gives a small smile, pushes away the ring and hugs Sree close. He mattered more than the ring. Even the supportive characters get an arc. Both Harish Kalayan and Raiza come up with performances that they can be proud of. Raiza makes a confident debut as the sensible Sindhuja and Harish sells the innocence and maturity equally well. And it is a fitting Yuvan musical. Despite the numerous cuts to songs, I didnt mind, thanks to a lovely soundtrack.
Pyaar Prema Kaadhal isnt perfect. The film felt too wannabe at a few places. A public spat at an office party is fine, but apologising at a team meeting seemed pushing it; so were the endearments. The extended climax felt like a reason to fit in a few more bed moments. But these are very minor grouses for a film that gets most of the things right. As someone who is a constant critic of how non-sensical our relationships are, it is my duty to acknowledge when things are right. Well, almost.
Samantha Akkineni and Naga Chaitanya had a dreamy wedding in October last year. The much-in-love couple took the wedding vows both according to Christain and Hindu rituals in Goa. While the ceremony was an intimate one with only close friends and family in attendance, Naga Chaitanyas father Nagarjuna Akkineni kept the fans of the couple updated by sharing candid clicks from the wedding. Even the beautiful bride Samantha posted photographs from the festivities and professed her love for Naga Chaitanya. Now, after eight months of her fairytale wedding, Samantha has shared a video of the wedding.
Sharing the video on Instagram, Samantha captioned it, “As promised Letting you in #chaysam. Thankyou @storiesbyjosephradhik you guys are the best in the country. #weshouldallbelieveinfairytales.” Popular among their fans as Sam and Chay, the two lovebirds are together addressed as ChaySam. In the video, we get to witness all the fun that happened at the grand wedding. From Naga Chaitanya asking for his tie to Samantha waiting for her bridesmaids, every memorable moment from the wedding makes the video a delight to watch.
After dating each other for almost two years, Sam and Chay decided to take the wedding vows. The two met on the sets of the hit movie Yeh Maaya Chesave.
Samantha keeps posting her photos with husband Naga Chaitanya on her Instagram account. [embedded content] [embedded content]
On the work front, Samantha Ruth Prabhu started the year with Rangasthalam. Her performance as a village girl won her appreciation from critics and fans alike. She has two other releases – Super Deluxe and Seema Raja lined up for the year.
Mukesh and Nita Ambanis eldest son Akash Ambani and fiancé Shloka Mehtas pre-engagement party is being held in Mumbai today. Shah Rukh Khan, Gauri Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Ayan Mukerji, Karan Johar and Sachin Tendulkar among others were seen arriving for the bash.
Akash proposed to his longtime girlfriend and childhood friend Shloka in March. The lovely couple studied together at the Dhirubhai Ambani International School and have known each other for a long time.
Shloka is the daughter of Russell Mehta, who heads Rosy Blue Diamonds, one of the countrys leading diamond companies. Shloka is currently a director with Rosy Blue Foundation and is a co-founder of ConnectFor, an organisation that helps NGOs get volunteers for various causes.
The traditional engagement ceremony of Akash and Shloka will take place on June 30. It will be held at the Ambani residence Antilia.
Though neither of the families have made an official statement yet, rumour has it that Shloka Mehta and Akash Ambani will tie the knot this December.
See photos of the stars arriving for Akash Ambani and Shloka Mehtas pre-engagement party:
Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri Khan were at Akash Ambanis pre-engagement party. Alia Bhatt was all smiles. Ranbir Kapoor posed for the shutterbugs. Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt looked amazing. Ranbir Kapoor along with Brahmastra director and close friend Ayan Mukerji. Karan Johar was seen arriving for the party, Akash Ambani, sister Isha Ambani snapped at the bash. Sachin Tendulkar came with wife Anjali.
The first episode of American Crime Story Season 2, titled The Assassination of Gianni Versace, wastes no time in linking spree killer Andrew Cunanan with his final and most famous victim: Gianni Versace. The series opens with a sweeping sequence showing Versace looking out majestically from the balcony of his Miami mansion while Cunanan sifts through a shabby, sand-logged backpack on the beach below—immediately establishing the “have” and “have not” in FX’s grim fable. The premiere, “The Man Who Would Be Vogue,” is front-loaded with two encounters between Cunanan and Versace—one in the V.I.P. room of a nightclub, and one on the stage of the San Francisco Opera following a performance of Capriccio, for which Versace designed costumes.
Given Cunanan’s propensity for pathological lying and the dreamlike quality of these sequences, though, what is the truth about Cunanan and Versace’s relationship—and what are we meant to see as simply Cunanan’s delusion?
In 1997, Vanity Fair contributing editor Maureen Orth—who wrote the book on which The Assassination of Gianni Versace is based—was the first to report that Cunanan and Versace actually had met in San Francisco in 1990. Based on interviews with multiple witnesses to the interaction, Orth described how Cunanan and his friend Eli Gould met the fashion designer in the V.I.P. room of the nightclub Colossus.
The designer walked in with an entourage, including [Versace’s boyfriend] Antonio D’Amico and [Capriccio choreographer] Val Caniparoli, who quickly introduced him to a few people. After about fifteen minutes of chitchat and waves of young men eager to meet him, Versace began to survey the room. He noticed Andrew standing with Eli, cocked his head, and walked in their direction. “I know you,” he said to Andrew. “Lago di Como, no?” Versace was referring to the house he owned on Lake Como near the Swiss border. Reportedly he would often use the Lago di Como line when he wanted to strike up a conversation with someone.
Andrew was thrilled and Eli couldn’t believe it. “That’s right,” Andrew answered. “Thank you for remembering, Signore Versace.” Then Andrew introduced Eli to Versace, who made polite talk about whether they had seen the opera. (They hadn’t.) Eli and Andrew then drifted back down to the dance floor.
Meanwhile, another man—Doug Stubblefield—claimed to have seen Versace with Cunanan on a different occasion in San Francisco that fall. He says a chauffeured car containing the duo, plus socialite Harry de Wildt, pulled up alongside him as he was walking on Market Street one evening. “To show off, Andrew had the car come to the curb, and Andrew and Doug had a conversation,” writes Orth. But Harry de Wildt, “a sixtyish dandy . . . married to a younger, big-boned Hillman heiress,” denied that he ever met Cunanan, let alone traveled in a car with Versace and Cunanan. Tangling this complicated web of alleged interactions even further, another friend of Cunanan’s, Steven Gomer, told Orth that Cunanan had personally introduced him to de Wildt—and that the two seemed to go “back a long way.”
Gomer also told Orth that, on another evening, he ran into Cunanan at a different San Francisco haunt. Cunanan, who was wearing a tuxedo at the time, claimed to have just come from Capriccio, where he “was with Gianni Versace.” This stray remark seems to be the basis for the Versace scene in which Cunanan and Versace, surrounded by candelabras and sipping champagne, get to know each other on the stage of the San Francisco Opera. This moment, at least, has less of a basis in fact; as Versace co-star Ricky Martin tells Vanity Fair’s Still Watching podcast, “We’re not making a photo; we’re making a painting. We add color, etc.”
Though Versace’s family has maintained, in the 20 years following the murder, that Gianni never met his killer, Orth also told Vanity Fairlast week, “There is no doubt in my mind that those two met.” During an interview with Vanity Fair’s American Crime Story companion podcast, Orth said, “That all is absolutely fact-based, on-the-record reporting.”
In fact, when news broke in July 1997 that Gianni had been fatally gunned down on the steps of his Miami mansion, Orth was one of the first people to have a correct hunch about who the killer was. She had spent the previous months extensively researching the mind-set and murder spree of 27-year-old Cunanan, an intelligent, half-Filipino college dropout who suffered delusions of grandeur, a drug habit, and a dark sexual history. In a feature that was set to be published in Vanity Fair the following month, Orth reported that Cunanan had only encountered one of the celebrities he claimed to have met in his countless, fabrication-filled monologues: Versace.
Because both Versace and Cunanan are said to have dabbled in sex-for-hire circles in San Francisco and Miami—Versace as procurer, Cunanan as purveyor—there is the slight chance that their orbits also intersected in unreported ways. But even if they did in fact only meet once, Cunanan spoke of his “friendship” with the fashion designer so often that at least three of Cunanan’s friends claimed to have told the F.B.I., after Cunanan went missing following his first four murders, about his alleged relationship with Versace.