With The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, his first significant TV role since his stint on General Hospital in the 1990s, singer Ricky Martin is playing a role in the story of an infamous murder, but it goes deeper than that. As Antonio D’Amico, lover to Gianni Versace (Édgar Ramírez), Martin found renewed strength.
The series brings the underlying homophobia that was (and still is) present in the United States at the time of Versace’s murder and the manhunt for Andrew Cunanan.
“One of the reasons that I jumped into this character with the level of passion that I jumped into [it with] was because in 1997, something happened. Someone was killed…a criminal that went on a killing spree. He was on the list of the most wanted men of the FBI, he was living in Miami Beach, not hiding, and no one caught him,” Martin told E! News.
“For me that is frustrating. For me that is injustice,” Martin continued about Cunanan’s murder spree ending with Versace. “For me, the most important thing was to be able to be a spokesperson for, maybe the LGBT community, and say open your eyes. We’re still being attacked and a lot has to be done.”
The blatant homophobia in the series gave Martin strength, he said and made him realize “how important it is for the world to accept their identity, their sexual identity, and to share it and normalize this.”
“Because other than that you’re just fitting in to ignorance,” he said.
There’s a specific scene that struck a chord with the singer-actor. Following the murder of Versace, police interrogate Martin’s character and really tear into his relationship with Versace.
“They are invading everything that I am; they’re talking about me, as Gianni’s lover bringing escorts, and for me as an actor it was very beautiful to play,” Martin said. “But they just went to some locked up places within that I needed to open up, read more about it, be open and be happy about the fact that I’m in front of the camera telling the story. Someway, somehow we are normalizing my life with this story.”
Click play on the story for more, including Darren Criss‘ take on the show.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story airs Wednesdays, 10 p.m. on FX.