This is a fan forum to discuss Darren Criss\'s career and his public activities, including his theater, film, and TV projects, his music and musical performances, charitable work, interaction with fans, and interviews.
I honestly believe that the performance in ACS Versace as Andrew Cunanan, along with your music is going to take you to other levels of fame, because you are a revelation.
I’m glad you say that, but for me it’s a bit strange to expect that to be the reaction with any job, although I hope you’re right. I can tell you that I put the same dedication as in any other project.
That’s the strangest thing about being an actor, you can work in the same way.. you put your passion Into everything and the actors show how good they are depending on the opportunities they get. And that does not depend on yourself, it’s a combination of different circumstances, what shows is it? The time it’s on? The day? The channel. This is the second season of a show that was very successful and we also have an excellent cast like Penéope Cruz, Édgar Ramírez, Ricky Martin, there are many things out of my control, and I’m really very grateful. There are actors who work all their lives and are never recognized, not because they are bad actors, sometimes the show was at another time or the plot was not good.
How much did you know about Andrew Cunanan before getting involved with the show? Not much, I only knew about the horrible things he did. I was not very familiar with him. How did you get the role of Andrew Cunanan? Ryan Murphy who is also a producer of GLEE, met with me one day about three years ago and he still had not done the O.J. series. He mentioned that he had the idea to tell the story about the murder of Gianni Versace and he asked me how much I knew about Andrew Cunanan? I just knew he was the guy that killed Versace. He was alike to me ethnically. So years went by and he asked me to do it.
Ryan told me “I would not do it without you” which I appreciated but I also started thinking. Who is half Filipino? and resembles Cunanan if it’s not me?, I’m glad I did it. Actors are like tools in a box waiting to be used. Do you think Andrew was a lucky killer or just that the FBI was not interested in the case?
I think that’s what’s interesting about the show, not only is it about the murder but also the reasons surrounding the case, the crime within the crime, with OJ you see the trial but also the racism that existed in Los Angeles. And in our case we have the murders that Andrew committed, but also the negligence and blindness that the police and the FBI had in the crimes for being cases linked to homosexuals. And add the homophobia that occurred at that time, it let the cases dissipate and get out of hand. I would not say that he was lucky, he is a man with a tragic life who would have had an excellent future because he had many skills, but those same gifts hurt him and destroyed his persona, it is a Shakespearian tragedy. The whole case is a Greek tragedy and like the world he lived in, it let him get away with it.
Critics' Reviews of "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story"
Film School Rejects wrote: The Best TV Shows of 2018 So Far
March 30, 2018
It's never a bad time to celebrate grat TV and this year we already have plenty to celebrate.
[. . . ]
7. American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace (FX)
FX’s American Crime Story (not to be confused with American Horror Story by the same creators and on the same network) has established its MO: pick a real, high-profile murder, dramatize it, and nail it. After 2016’s hugely well-received “The People v. O. J. Simpson,” the show followed up this year with “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” which just finished on March 21st. The physical likenesses alone are worth mentioning, as is the out of left field but welcome appearance of Ricky Martin (yes, that one) as Antonio D’Amico, Gianni Versace’s partner. But the most notable asset is Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan, pathological liar, creepshow extraordinaire, and murderer. While Versace’s life and the impact of his death are great in their own right, it’s Cunanan’s story that’s truly fascinating. Told in a series of nonlinear scenes, it offers a strange and specific dual view into the world of gay men in the mid-90s, and into the mind of a serial killer. If you haven’t seen ACS yet, go watch it on FX’s website immediately, before it disappears. –Liz Baessler
The Ithacan (Ithaca College) wrote: Review: Crime anthology series captures complex characters
April 3, 2018
In its sophomore season, the anthology series centers on the true story of the delayed FBI manhunt to locate Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss), a closeted gay Filipino-American fugitive who killed five people, including, most notably, the famous Italian designer Gianni Versace (Édgar Ramírez). Instead of relying on a formulaic trope of glorifying an immoral figure, Cunanan in condemned. On the other hand, Versace’s wealthy lifestyle is portrayed as attainable, an unlikely deviation that characterizes him as a neighbor, colleague or friend. Here, LGBTQ representation is successfully given the same complexities of heterosexual representation; there are unfavorable, benign and positive characterizations.
. . . “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” investigates identity politics, gay shame and political survival during the ’90s by way of remaining in the closet. . . .
. . . This offers a complex character study that intensifies the dramatic storytelling.
[. . . ]
The role of Cunanan is a welcome departure from Criss’ role as Blaine Anderson, a charming, openly gay high schooler on “Glee,” another Ryan Murphy production. Criss portrays Cunanan as an articulate, manipulative deviant who is ashamed of his identity. He victimizes younger men, Jeffrey Trail (Finn Wittrock) and David Madson (Cody Fern), and is prostituted by older men, such as Lee Miglin (Mike Farrell). With each, Criss convincingly plays a bully who is emotionally stunted. Criss’performance is layered and shaded with nuance to show Cunanan’s mental decline. It’s distressing to watch him become a victim of his worst inhibitions. This humanizes him, but simultaneously, viewers are reminded of his immoral actions and destructive status as a murderer. Criss is terrifyingly brilliant as Cunanan because he elicits pity as well as palpable fear.
Cunanan is an unreliable narrator who shifts identities to comfort others. The fictional pursuit of Versace by Cunanan fits within the narrative that these events are his fantasy. There’s no central perspective representing the audience surrogate beyond Cunanan, which attaches pathos to a murderer. This narrative addition adds complexity to an otherwise one-dimensional manipulative character.
[. . . ]
“The Assassination of Gianni Versace” hopes to challenge homophobia just as “The People v. O.J. Simpson” offered political commentary on systemic racism, but this critique isn’t all there is to the show. The writing, acting and production design is where the show finds its footing. The writing relies on identifiable bonds between characters but also develops them by showing complicated relationships. This twisting of tropes elevates the series to a detailed character study where positive portrayals of the LGBTQ experience are also visible.
Please visit the site to give the article a number of "clicks." Source:https://theithacan.org/life-culture/review-crime-anthology-series-captures-complex-characters/
Decider wrote: Andrew Cunanan, David Koresh and Patty Hearst: Sympathy for the Devils
April 3, 2018
I live for series like these, because things that happen in the real world are always more compelling than stories that are made up (that’s why I STILL prefer Rome over Game of Thrones). I come to these types of series to learn, and to ask why, but what I didn’t realize would happen upon exiting them is that I would find myself sympathizing with these devils. The levels of badness differ between Cunanan, Koresh and Hearst, but after spending all this time with them, I see them now more as humans with flaws (some more deeply flawed than others) than as the pariahs that the media and the passing of time have turned them into.
'The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story'
I am not much of an awards guy, but in my hopes of hopes, I want Darren Criss to win 17 Emmys for playing Andrew Cunanan. Cunanan lived a life of lies, but mainly because he always wanted to impress people, make friends and feel loved and wanted. Darren Criss conveys this so perfectly that I was impressed, and loved his character so much that I wanted to actually be his friend. When Criss as Cunanan was charming and happy, I was charmed and happy. When he was doing wrong, and going on the lam, I was disappointed (and disgusted) that he was doing these actions, and yet I was somehow secretly hoping for him to NOT get caught. What is wrong with me? How could I possibly find empathy for a guy who senselessly murdered at least five people? ACS: Versace brilliantly tells the Cunanan’s story backwards – starting with Versace’s murder, and tracing his sordid life back to childhood. By the time we learn the truth about his father Modesto, and how he professionally swindled people and left his family with nothing, you can see where everything started to go wrong for Cunanan. He just wanted a better life for himself, but unfortunately, that better life always seemed to elude him, so he took it out on those who were able to do what he wasn’t able to – succeed. And still, I felt for Cunanan. His father disappointed him. It was hard for him to be gay in a time that wasn’t easy for anyone to be gay. He was different and just wanted to feel special. Criss crossed all these roads – the light and the dark, and it somehow filled me with glee (pun intended).
But how could I not root for the Catholic school misfit who shows up at a house party in an Eddie Murphy Delirious red leather jacket and awkwardly takes center stage in someone’s living room, acting a fool like John C. Reilly in Cyrus?? Even if this scene never happened in real life and was dreamed up by the writers, I still have to shout – ‘you go Andrew!’
If only you found happiness in life, and not sadness, and didn’t create way too much sadness for way too many others.
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Sarah Hillary is a writer. Alison Graham is an award-winning columnist and Radio Times TV editor.
Tufayel "Tuffy" Ahmed is incoming news editor of Pink News (formerly was with Newsweek, Daily Mirror). Paul Taylor Mills is Artistic Director of The Other Palace (The Other Palace was formerly known as St. James Theatre and is in London).
Aw, Darren replied to Rian Johnson (who among other things, is the director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi). This has got to make Darren so happy.
Darren is referring to this 2014 tweet (it pays to be nice):
This warms my heart, that Ryan had so much faith in Darren. I'm glad that Mr. Smith thought Darren had charisma on stage in Hedwig and the Angry Inch (and that he would be surprised if Darren is not nominated for an Emmy). How nice that the interviewer also saw Darren in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Tom Rob Smith talks about Darren on The Assassination Of Gianni Versace at Build Series London (April 5th, 2018) | Source
The Playlist wrote: 2018 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Emmy Predictions
April 4, 2018
This year is seemingly less competitive than you’d expect. Do Benedict Cuberbatch or Jeff Daniels get snubbed? Unlikely. Can Antonio Banderas make the cut? Possible, but we’re not so sure. Frankly, the final six in this category may already be set. [Posted April 4]
Frontrunners Darren Criss, “Assassination of Gianni Versace” Benedict Cumberbatch, “Patrick Melrose” Jeff Daniels, “The Looming Tower” Michael B. Jordan, “Fahrenheight 451” Kyle MacLachlan, “Twin Peaks” Al Pacino, “Paterno” Almost there Antonio Banderas, “Genius: Picasso” Daniel Bruhl, “The Alienist” Evan Peters, “American Horror Story: Cult” Michael Shannon, “Waco”
Decider wrote: 10 Best TV Episodes of 2018 (So Far)
April 4, 2018
1. ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story’ Episode 4: “House By the Lake”
With its fourth episode, The Assassination of Gianni Versace emerged as the show it had been trying to be. Without the gaudy trappings of the Versace family, producer Ryan Murphy and writer Tom Rob Smith turned their narrative eye towards the unbearably tragic murder of David Madson.
Darren Criss (as Andrew Cunanan) and Cody Fern (as Madson) turn in searing performances as killer and victim, respectively, anchoring the episode even as it takes a few flights of fancy. — Joe Reid
I'm not sure what the ratings are compared to other countries. I thought I saw a few articles on acsversace-news that the ratings understandably were higher in Italy. I wonder what the ratings were in the Philippines.
And compared to the first season of ACS (The People v. OJ Simpson), the ratings are lower for the 2nd season with Versace. But I feel that comparison is unfair for various reasons. First, the trial of OJ Simpson captured the attention of the entire nation. I remember people cutting classes to watch the trial on TV. It was what students debated with each other about, and with their professors. It was what my parents wanted to discuss with me. OJ Simpson's trial was H-U-G-E, in terms of its historical and cultural importance, and in terms of how a broad range of people were obsessed with it. Second, the cast of season 1 was filled with more high-profile names/actors, so it drew viewers to see famous actor A or famous actor B.
And third, Season 1 was lighter compared to Versace. Yes, the first season also involved the real-life incident of two (very gory) murders, but I believe (my memory is a bit fuzzy, since it's been a while since I saw Season 1) that the violence that the audience saw portrayed on screen was minimal in Season 1. The main characters in Season 1 were the lawyers involved in a trial, not the defendant/murderer OJ Simpson being shown committing the murders, whereas the main focus in this season is on Andrew Cunanan, so that during the season, the audience had to view how Andrew Cunanan tricked, taunted, and viciously killed five extremely likeable characters (involving scenes of very disturbing, realistic violence taking place in almost every episode). The show this season was much darker than season 1. It was not everyone's cup of tea, especially if one, like me, has a low tolerance for violence. There also was plenty of humor during the course of the season 1 (it was so fun to see the characters on OJ Simpson's defense team jockey for power), but very little that I can recall for this season.
Fourth, OJ Simpson, as a well-known professional football player, was a big national celebrity in the U.S. Gianni Versace was well known among some segments of people in the U.S., but was not by far as famous as OJ Simpson was in the U.S.
Fifth, the first season had a broader mainstream appeal than this season. Unfortunately, we have not yet reached the point in the U.S. where LGBTQ characters and issues that affect them (just like characters from racial minorities and issues unique to them) will have the same appeal where the characters are white and straight.
Anyway, that's why I feel it's unfair to compare the ratings of Season 1 to Season 2. At first I followed the ratings this season closely, but at some point, I didn't care what the ratings were "compared to season 1."
I didn't care, because regardless of the comparison of the ratings of season 1, to season 2, ACS Versace is an amazing show. The acting was superb--just astounding. The writing was impressive. The characters and the storyline broke my heart. The social themes displayed in the show this season were skillfully thread within the storytelling. The audience witnessed the suffocating weight of homophobia that oppressed so many good people in our country in that time period. Homophobia destroyed the lives of so many people, and it still does. This show is so relevant for that reason, because that homophobia, that intolerance, still exists today--in the highest levels of our government, as well as in those who support our political "leaders."
I'm not an expert on ratings, but I do know that there are live ratings, there are Live +3 ratings and there are Live + 7 ratings. From what I saw on acsversace-news, the Live + 3 and Live + 7 generally had significant, dramatic increases, which is important. But like I said, at some point, ratings were not an important issue to me. haha. Sorry for being so verbose. I'm not sure if that answers your question.
Last edited by Poppy on Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:50 am; edited 1 time in total
Critics' Reviews of "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story"
The Playlist wrote: Early Emmy Nomination Predictions Prompts Lots Of Tough Questions
April 6, 2018
It may seem s a lifetime away, but voting for the 2018 Emmy Awards nominations begins in just 10 weeks.
[. . .]
What exactly do Emmy voters think of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace”?
The good news for Ryan Murphy and FX is there is seemingly less competition in the Limited Series categories than years past. So much so that it would be shocking if the latest “American Crime Story” season didn’t earn a nod in the top category. Beyond that recognition and a likely nod for star Darren Criss, a “People vs. O.J.” sweep seems remote. On the one hand, reviews were mostly very good with a 74 average on Metacritic, but the TV ratings were often just a third of “People vs. O.J.” instead on par with last year’s FX nominees “Fargo” season three and “Feud: Bette and Joan.” That being said there has been a lot of passionate debate over the historical inaccuracies or “liberties” the show takes in regards to both Versace (outing him as having HIV for instance) and his killer, Andrew Cunanan (too many to list). It’s still compelling television, but will it be a harder sell than FX might think or does the Murphy brand rule when “Big Little Lies” isn’t around?
The Guardian wrote: Has The Assassination of Gianni Versace been a disappointment?
April 6, 2018
In short, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story needs a defender. Reader, I am that defender. Because the chatter is nonsense. This is an astonishing, bold piece of television. By some distance, it’s the best of the year so far.
[. . . ]
The show’s entire mid-section. . . counts among some of the most gripping television in recent memory. . . . And the episode about Jeff Trail’s murder is just a thing of towering majesty. It manages to simultaneously move the story along, draw a graceful one-off character arc and dish out the most stingingly furious rebuke to the US military’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy I have ever seen. It was stunning and heartbreaking, and if there’s a better episode of television broadcast this year, I will be genuinely staggered.
Holding all these disparate tones together is a mesmerising central performance by Darren Criss. A former Glee star in danger of being lost to the world of cartoon voiceovers, Criss is horrifyingly convincing as Cunanan. He’s needy and manipulative and utterly empty; a blank that slowly draws you in to your doom. I’m watching the series at BBC pace, so I don’t know whether or not the wheels will fall off in the weeks to come, but for now it has the look of a star-making performance.Criss deserves to be huge because of this role. He cannot win enough awards for it.
American Crime Story’s producers Brad Simpson and Nina Jacobson have previously said that their show exists to tell stories that say something “bigger and deeper and more disturbing about America”. So far, that’s exactly what The Assassination of Gianni Versace has been. It’s dark and complex and tragic, and it deserves a much better reception than the one it received. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out on something special.
Please visit the site to give the article a number of "clicks." Source: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2018/apr/06/has-the-assassination-of-gianni-versace-been-a-disappointment
Yes, I agree that a show with high ratings will bring more attention/visibility to an actor in that show, thus hopefully giving him/her more opportunities. But shows with smaller ratings that are respected by critics and by the general audience (which I think includes Versace) also will give the actor opportunities too.
This is nice, Darren getting some recognition from the Los Angeles Times. Shown: Darren, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Angela Bassett, (hello!) Jonathan Groff, Mandy Moore, and David Harbour.
Via Los Angeles Times’s Instagram Story (April 7th, 2018)
Via Darren’s Instagram Story (April 7th, 2018)
Via Yvonne Villareal’s Instagram Story (April 7th, 2018)
Via Yvonne Villareal’s Instagram Story (April 7th, 2018)
Dan (@creature_dan) is CEO and Founder at Creature of London (an advertising agency).
I don't know anything about how Emmy submissions work, but I'm assuming this indicates who the showrunners of ACS Versace are submitting to the Television Academy? I was wondering what they were going to do regarding Penelope Cruz, whether she would be nominated a s Lead Actress or Supporting Actress. And I was wondering if they would nominate Edgar in the Lead with Darren, or if Edgar would be nominated in the Supporting category (can there be 2 Lead Actors nominated for the same show?). I also was really curious about who they would nominate as Supporting Actor. I can think of so many actors in this category from ACS Versace (the entire cast is so incredibly talented): Edgar (if he was not included in the Lead Actor category with Darren), Cody Fern, Jon Jon Briones, Max Greenfield, Finn Wittrock, and Ricky Martin. I personally was hoping that Cody and Jon Jon Briones would be nominated, but I wasn't sure if the showrunners would agree, because Cody and Jon Jon are lesser known actors (and for that reason, maybe most people in the business would think their chances of winning would be lower??). I think that they made the right choice in picking Cody and Jon Jon. I would have selected Max Greenfield as a third choice for Supporting Actor, but I don't know if he qualified with enough screen time (I think, but am not sure, there is a rule that in the Limited Series, a Supporting Actor needs to have 5% of the total screen time of the series?), but I like Ricky too.
EMMY SUBMISSIONS AS OF APRIL 11 Outstanding Limited Series The Assassination of Gianni Versace Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Darren Criss Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Penelope Cruz Judith Light Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Edgar Ramirez Ricky Martin Cody Fern Jon Jon Briones
Can you imagine how happy Darren would be if he sees his name among those nominated (for Lead Actor in a Limited Series) ?! I mean, I know so many media sites have been talking about Darren being a sure thing in terms of being nominated, but to see it actually happen would be a whole different matter. Crossing fingers (and toes) it happens. (It would be nice if he was nominated, but if he isn't nominated by the TV Academy, that's fine too. So many talented actors, with amazing performances, are not nominated for awards all the time. He already has won the recognition and respect of many people in the industry, as well as having won recognition and respect from media folks who cover the industry--so that's got to feel wonderful to Darren--which is so well-deserved.)
According to the Emmy's website, here are a few dates in the schedule for nominations:
April 27 Entry deadline for ALL entries
June 11 Nomination-round voting begins
June 25, 10 pm PT Nomination-round voting ends
July 12 Nominations are announced live at Emmys.com/nominations
@Poppy wrote: And I was wondering if they would nominate Edgar in the Lead with Darren, or if Edgar would be nominated in the Supporting category (can there be 2 Lead Actors nominated for the same show?).
They had two actors nominated in that category for the OJ season (and three in Supporting), but I'm not sure how likely that generally is because they end up splitting the vote. I was also wondering if they would try to submit Edgar as a lead because the show had so many great supporting actors. I'm glad they are submitting Jon Jon too, crossing all my fingers for him.
Lin wrote: They had two actors nominated in that category for the OJ season (and three in Supporting), but I'm not sure how likely that generally is because they end up splitting the vote. I was also wondering if they would try to submit Edgar as a lead because the show had so many great supporting actors. I'm glad they are submitting Jon Jon too, crossing all my fingers for him.
Thanks for the info about 2 actors for the OJ season being nominated for Lead Actor (and for the info of the 3 Supporting actors being nominated). That's so interesting. Yes, I could see that as being risky, because it would split the vote.
I'm also so glad they are submitting Jon Jon. I feel torn because I loved the acting of Cody Fern, Jon Jon and Edgar. But I personally would be most overjoyed if Jon Jon gets nominated. Even if he isn't nominated by the TV Academy, I'm so glad for him that his work on Versace has brought a lot of positive attention to his acting.
This is nice, especially since it's from The Hollywood Reporter, but also because their analysis seems so meticulous and thoughtful, considering so many factors.
The Hollywood Reporter wrote: Feinberg Forecast: First Read on 2018 Emmys Race
THR’s awards columnist Scott Feinberg offers the first of what will be weekly assessments the race. This one covers 16 major categories.
The charts below reflect how THR's awards columnist Scott Feinberg believes the Emmy standings would look if voting ended today. They are formulated using a combination of personal impressions (from sampling many programs), historical considerations (how other shows with similar pedigrees have resonated), precursor awards (some groups have historically correlated with the TV Academy more than others) and consultations with industry insiders (including voters, content creators, awards strategists and fellow members of the press). Best Actor in a Limited Series or a Television Movie FRONTRUNNERS Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story)
Al Pacino (Paterno) John Legend (Jesus Christ Superstar) Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks) Jeff Daniels (The Looming Tower) — podcast Antonio Banderas (Genius: Picasso) MAJOR THREATS
Jesse Plemons (Black Mirror: USS Callister) — podcast Michael B. Jordan (Fahrenheit 451) — podcast Matthew Macfadyen (Howards End) Benedict Cumberbatch (Patrick Melrose) — podcast Bill Pullman (The Sinner) Evan Peters (American Horror Story: Cult) Jack O'Connell (Godless) Jimmy Tatro (American Vandal) Taylor Kitsch (Waco) Michael Kelly (The Long Road Home) POSSIBILITIES
Jared Harris (The Terror) Garrett Hedlund (Mosaic) Will Forte (A Futile and Stupid Gesture) Bryan Cranston (Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams) Timothy Spall (Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams) Greg Kinnear (Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams) Terrence Howard (Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams) LONG SHOTS
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Child in Time) — podcast Daniel Bruhl (The Alienist) Luke Evans (The Alienist) Michael Shannon (Waco) — podcast Kit Harington (Gunpowder) Kevin Kline (Present Laughter) Billy Crudup (Gypsy)
I've only seen two of the "major threats" (Black Mirror and American Vandal). I think some of them haven't aired yet, so that list is probably going to change a bit over the next several weeks. Still nice to see Darren up there. He's also currently the top prediction at GoldDerby. http://www.goldderby.com/odds/graph/emmy-awards-nominations-2018/movie-mini-actor/
Lin wrote:I've only seen two of the "major threats" (Black Mirror and American Vandal). I think some of them haven't aired yet, so that list is probably going to change a bit over the next several weeks. Still nice to see Darren up there. He's also currently the top prediction at GoldDerby. http://www.goldderby.com/odds/graph/emmy-awards-nominations-2018/movie-mini-actor/
Were those two shows impressive to you, Lin? Yes, some new shows will appear in April and May, so like you said, we'll just have to wait and see.
Thanks for the link, Lin! It's nice to see that Darren is favored in the assessment by the Gold Derby Editors and members (and "experts"--not sure what they mean by "experts").
Deadline wrote: New Hollywood Podcast: Darren Criss Talks ‘Versace’ And Connecting To His Filipino Culture
April 17, 2018
Darren Criss looks and acts like a stand-up guy with a good head on his shoulders. When he stopped by the New Hollywood Podcast, he was nice, approachable, and is personable — much like Blaine, his character on Glee. But in FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Criss does a 180 from his good guy roles by playing the real-life Andrew Cunanan, the man who murdered at least five people, including titular fashion designer. Obviously, Criss is not a serial killer, but his casting in the role is an advancement for authentic representation in Hollywood.Criss, like Cunanan, is half-Filipino — a detail about the actor that many people are surprised to hear.
A San Francisco Bay Area native, his role in Versace marks another collaboration with TV maestro Ryan Murphy, who created Gleeas well as American Horror Story, which Criss also appears in. But Versace is a much more dramatic turn for Criss. It’s also a series which he is the lead — and as an Asian, it’s kind of a big deal. In the episode (with a new theme song courtesy of Pete Blyth), we talked to Criss about tackling the nuanced role of Cunanan, his cultural identity, his love for musical theater, and how his new bar has a clever drink special called “The Moesha.” Listen to the episode below.
So I listened to the Deadline New Hollywood Podcast, and Darren talks about Versace and also talks a bit about being Filipino-American. It was interesting, what Darren said. He talks about how his mom immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s and had a desire to be American and have the American dream. That is, as he said, a very common desire by folks who immigrate to the U.S. (and I agree with this, especially regarding immigrants who are seeking a better way of life, when life in the country of their birth has economic hardships or political/social hardships, which may include fleeing violence and/or persecution). Darren talked about his mom wanting an American way of life.
(Note from me: The desire to live in America, the desire to be an American, and to attain the American Dream is experienced by many immigrants, and is often desired just as much, sometimes even more, by their offspring who are born in the U.S. And there is the dichotomy of immigrants and their children desiring the American experience, including wanting to be accepted as American, contrasted with their experience of often being perceived in this country as foreigners. This was touched on in Episode 8, when Modesto was struck by how his appearance and experiences were vastly different from the appearance and experiences of all the other job applicants seeking a job at Merrill Lynch.)
Darren also noted that being Filipino-American is a unique culture, a sub-culture that is different from being Filipino (in the Philippines, I assume he is saying), because you are American, but with Filipino heritage. Darren suggested it is a unique culture in itself.
(Note from me: This is similar to the experience of many Asian-Americans, whether you are Filipino-American, Chinese-American, Vietnamese-American, etc. There is the duality of living in America, being American, yet also recognizing the influence of your Asian heritage, as well as some folks experiencing being viewed by others in this country as "different." America is often talked about as a melting pot. But when I took classes in college about the Asian-American experience in the U.S., it was discussed how America is really less a melting pot--less a place where one's cultural heritage melts and is lost by blending into something else, less of a cultural assimilation--and is more like a stew, with unique races and cultures contributing their own special flavors without losing their own unique and special identities. Funny food-analogy, but I liked it.)
Anyway, an interesting interview of Darren. I really enjoyed listening to his thoughts.
So nice of Tom Rob Smith showing his respect for Jon Jon's performance in Versace, and so nice of how supportive Jon Jon is of Darren.
Last edited by Poppy on Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
Critics' Reviews of "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story"
Esquire wrote: The Best TV Shows of 2018 (So Far)
Apr. 16, 2018
2. THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
The first season of American Crime Story set an impossibly high bar for later editions of Ryan Murphy’s latest anthology series. While The Assassination of Gianni Versace seemed like the perfect follow up to The People v. O.J. Simpson, the former never quite lived up the hype of the latter. That is essentially a shame—and perhaps its misleading title is to blame. While the 1997 murder of the Italian fashion designer does kick off the season, it’s hardly its focus; instead, serial killer Andrew Cunanan is the leading player as the show follows him on his three-month murder spree across the United States. Darren Criss delivers a phenomenally unhinged performance as Cunanan, bringing humanity to the sociopathic character who left behind little explanation of his motives. —Tyler Coates
American Crime Story: The Assassination Of Gianni Versace
9pm, BBC Two
As this astonishing series nears its end, it gets even more brain scrambling. It’s the penultimate episode, and the backwards-running structure stretches back to its furthest points, to offer two parallel, contrasting portraits of childhood, in two different timeframes. In 1957, we glimpse the young Gianni Versace, aged 10 or so, and encouraged by his dressmaker mother to follow his heart and learn about and designing clothes, despite the taunts of other kids and disapproval of his teachers. Flipping forward to 1980 comes a fuller and more unsettling picture of Andrew Cunanan around the same age – singled out for special treatment and pressurised to succeed by his father, Modesto, a stockbroker with big dreams, and given to making big exaggerations about himself. As Cunanan becomes a young man, however, the house of cards Modesto has built begins to collapse. Darren Criss’s performance as Cunanan is extraordinary again, while the casting of the child actor playing young Cunanan (Edouard Holdener) is spooky.
Link to Radio Times: http://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2018-04-18/we-need-to-talk-about-darren-crisss-killer-performance-in-the-assassination-of-gianni-versace/amp/?__twitter_impression=true
jonjonbriones: To my UK friends! This episode of @americancrimestoryfx #TheAssassinationOfGianniVersace is tonight! With the amazing @darrencriss Exquisitely directed by @mattbomer and written by the excellent Brit Tom Rob Smith. Hope you’re enjoying the whole series! The cast is just insane! @edgarramirez25 @penelopecruzoficial @ricky_martin @judithlight @codyfern @edouardholdener #JoannaAdler @mrrpmurphy
This is really nice.
Variety wrote: Variety, PBS SoCal Announce Lineup for Eighth Season of ‘Variety Studio: Actors on Actors’
April 18, 2018
Variety and PBS SoCal KOCE have announced the lineup for the eighth season of “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.”
The Emmy Award-winning series will air in two episodes on PBS SoCal KOCE, the first on Tuesday, June 19 at 7 p.m. and the second on Thursday, June 21 at 7 p.m. Both episodes will stream on pbssocal.org following their premieres.
This year’s lineup of pairings includes: Issa Rae (“Insecure”) with Michael B. Jordan(“Fahrenheit 451”); Laura Dern (“The Tale”) with Angela Bassett (“9-1-1”); Tiffany Haddish (“The Last O.G.”) with John Legend (“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert”); Benedict Cumberbatch (“Patrick Melrose”) with Claire Foy (“The Crown”); Jason Bateman (“Ozark”) with Bill Hader (“Barry”); Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”) with Sharon Stone (“Mosaic”); J.K. Simmons (“Counterpart”) with Edie Falco (“Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders”); Alison Brie (“GLOW”) with Jessica Biel (“The Sinner”); Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Deuce”) with Jonathan Groff (“Mindhunter”); Frankie Shaw (“SMILF”) with Sara Gilbert (“Roseanne”); Jeff Daniels (“The Looming Tower”) with Laura Linney (“Ozark”); Darren Criss (“American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace”) with Mandy Moore (“This is Us”); David Harbour (“Stranger Things”) with Kyle MacLachlan (“Twin Peaks”); and Dakota Fanning (“The Alienist”) with Freddie Highmore (“The Good Doctor”).
“There’s no better way to celebrate another groundbreaking season of television than with our ‘Actors on Actors’ franchise,” said Debra Birnbaum, Variety’s executive TV editor. “We’re proud to shine a light on this year’s most remarkable performances with this series of revealing, one-on-one conversations. And we’re thrilled as always to partner with PBS SoCal to share this content with their audience.”
Variety’s “Actors on Actors” issue will hit newsstands June 5 with clips appearing on Variety.com starting at the beginning of June.
“Southern California’s creative industry inspires and excites our PBS audiences like few others. And this season of ‘Actors on Actors’ is sure to please, with compelling conversations between some of today’s most popular protagonists,” said Andrew Russell, president and CEO of PBS SoCal. “It’s terrific to team with Variety to produce and share ‘Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.’”
This was a really wonderful interview. Darren was great! Very articulate, thoughtful, and charming. Well done, Darren! I confess I never heard of Lorraine before, but she is very cute, very charming and enthusiastic (she called Blaine an all-American hero). Here is the full interview:
Darren Criss on the Lorraine Show - Full Interview (April 18th, 2018) | Source
Here is a shorter interview on YouTube:
Darren Criss Attributes His Success in TV Drama to His Character in Glee | Lorraine (April 18th, 2018) | Source
Some pics (but unfortunately with watermarks):
Darren Criss on ‘Lorraine’ TV show, London, UK - 18 Apr 2018
Darren Criss on ‘Lorraine’ TV show, London, UK - 18 Apr 2018
Darren Criss on ‘Lorraine’ TV show, London, UK - 18 Apr 2018
A cute pic (and with no watermarks):
lorraine: ‘This is from Coachella and my publicist was trying to get me to take it off and I was like, ‘No way! I’m meeting Lorraine, I’ve got to look pretty today - this is a big deal for me!’’ @darrencriss ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @lorrainekellysmith #glee#darrencriss#assassinationofgianniversace #gleek#coachella
Article about Darren's interview with Lorraine. I thought it was funny that they use an old photo--he looks so different in this photo.
Independent IE wrote: Actor Darren Criss calls reaction to serial killer performance ‘mind-blowing’
April 19, 2018
Actor Darren Criss has said playing the part of serial killer Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination Of Gianni Versace is what he has worked for for his entire life.
The former Glee star said he was encouraged by viewers’ attempts to rationalise why his character in the biopic drama series murdered fashion designer Gianni Versace in 1997.
He told ITV’s Lorraine: “Any time people respond to it, it’s encouraging. It speaks less of our show and my performance, and more about the compassion people have.
“The aptitude for sympathy or empathy that people have displayed is a little mind-blowing.
“It means we are looking for something to redeem somebody, which is a beautifully poetic thing, even though it’s a difficult thing to wrap your head around as it’s something so horrible and unforgivable.”
Criss discussed his role as Blaine Anderson in hit musical TV series Glee as well as his forthcoming acoustic concert at St Pancras New Church in London.
He also impressed host Lorraine Kelly with his choice of nail polish, which he wore while attending the Coachella music festival last weekend.
However, he was quick to play down suggestions that his performance as Cunanan would earn him a nomination for an Emmy Award.
“I know it’s an exciting thing to talk about but I already feel like I won the lottery.
“This is no hyperbole but I have literally waited and worked my entire life for this moment.
“I feel so privileged to have gotten just a small part of what I’d hoped for in my life that awards are just peripheral stuff.
“If and when then that time comes though – rock ‘n’ roll!”