Edgar Ramirez and Penelope Cruz are standing behind their work on The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story following the Versace family telling ET that the mini-series should be "considered a work of fiction."
ET's Keltie Knight spoke with the ACS stars and the show's creator, Ryan Murphy, at the FX premiere on Monday night in Los Angeles, California, and they were all adamant about holding Gianni's relatives in high regard.
"We all feel the utmost respect for the Versace family," Ramirez, who portrays the slain fashion designer, said. "We all tried to be as respectful and compassionate as possible walking into the show."
"I really feel a lot of love for them," added Cruz, who takes on the role of Gianni's sister, Donatella Versace.
The mini-series is based on Maureen Orth's book, Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U. S. History, which details the late designer's murder in 1997. Murphy stands behind the story.
"Vulgar Favors was acclaimed and embedded for almost 20 years now so we stand behind Marren and we stand behind the book," he insisted.
Murphy added, "Penelope never would have taken on this role if in any way if Donatella or anyone in the family was sort of portrayed in a negative light."
"The Versace family has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV series about the death of Mr. Gianni Versace," the family said in a statement on Monday. "Since Versace did not authorize the book on which it is partly based nor has it taken part in the writing of the screenplay, this TV series should only be considered as a work of fiction."
At Sunday's 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Cruz shared with ET's Nancy O'Dell that she spoke with Donatella before accepting the part.
"When [ACS creator] Ryan [Murphy] told me, I said to him, 'This sounds really interesting, but I have to make this call and I have to talk to Donatella,'" she recalled. "I called her and we spoke, like, for an hour. I needed that conversation to say yes."
The 43-year-old actress further noted that she and Donatella have no bad blood between them. "It was a conversation where, I cannot share everything we talked about, but we have a good relationship," she disclosed. "She just sent me flowers before I came here."
Doting on the 62-year-old fashion icon, Cruz continued, "She's such a loving person, so I wanted to put out there the love and respect I have for her. It's in my performance for sure, and I hope that when she sees, she will be happy about it."
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story premieres Jan. 17 on FX.
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