Lifetime’s new biopic about the fashion empire behind Gianni and Donatella is exactly as melodramatic as one would expect. A look at the most outrageous parts.
Lifetime premiered its latest biopic, House of Versace based on Deborah Ball’s book, House of Versace: The Untold Story of Genius, Murder and Survival, on Saturday night. In typical Lifetime fashion, the movie’s plot is melodramatic, outrageous, and leaves audiences with utter regret over the hour and 30 minutes they’ve lost from their lives. Even the real House of Versace publicly disassociated itself from the project. “Versace has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV movie about Mrs. Versace,” the Italian company told Women’s Wear Daily.
The flick tells of the fashion family’s trials and tribulations: Gianni Versace’s murder, Donatella (played by Gina Gershon) nearly bankrupting the brand, her notorious drug abuse, and other moments of sheer dysfunction.
It’s a brilliantly ridiculous saga. Here’s a look at the seven craziest moments from the movie.
It’s obvious that Donatella and her late brother Gianni were close, but Lifetime depicts their relationship in a strange way. The two gaze into each other’s eyes and for a brief moment the audience waits for a passionate makeout sesh—until we remember, hey, that would be incest. While other parts of the film highlight their co-dependency in both private and professional lives, in this scene, Lifetime gives the impression that they’re more than brother and sister.
Long before the numerous arguments between Donatella and Allegra begin, the two are shown having a post-shopping, mother-daughter bonding walk. It captures Donatella’s inherent je ne sais quoi, as the two strut past a pair of women who stare at her outrageous daytime ensemble: a one-sleeved, red and black printed mini-dress. Donatella balks at the staring women, “It’s Versace, ladies. Why don’t you go by the store? Your husband would be happy!”
The film focuses on Donatella’s drug use and “partying” ways from the minute the cameras start to roll. In one uncomfortable scene, Donatella is depicted chatting and snorting cocaine in a nightclub, while her husband is grinding in the background with another woman. It’s awkward, a bit sad, and a definite warning sign of how their relationship will progress.
Channeling her grief over Gianni’s death into anger, Donatella goes on a rampage toward the company’s staff. In an altercation with the lead designer—who is also having difficulty coping with the loss of Gianni—Donatella snaps and fires him. A shocking moment for the employees (and the audience), it commences Donatella’s new seemingly dominant reign of power.
In an awkward and painful scene, it becomes evident that Donatella’s mental state is fragile, as is her relationship with her children. While she and daughter Allegra watch the funeral of Princess Diana (a close friend of the Versace family) on television, Donatella flips out with a rant about paparazzi, shattering a wine glass on the chandelier and frightening her daughter.
Donatella officially cracks. Staff members have been fired, shoes have been thrown, and drugs have been ingested. When her brother and business partner Santo Versace tells Donatella that the company is failing, she throws down a “poor pitiful me” act, which includes pills, alcohol, and an overwhelming amount of cocaine.
At Allegra’s 18th birthday, the family finally confronts Donatella about her drug usage. Straight out of an episode of Intervention, family members express their sadness and anger about Donatella’s behavior. In a shocking moment, Santo even tells Donatella, “I wish you died with Gianni.” Way harsh.