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‘Versace’ wraps case in Miami

First Cunanan pic completes lensing

In what must have seemed like a case of deja vu for Miami Beach denizens, shooting has wrapped there on “The Versace Murder,” a feature on the death of Italian designer Gianni Versace.

Written and directed by Menahem Golan, the movie stars Franco Nero as Versace, Steven Bauer as FBI agent John Jacoby and newcomer Shane Purdue as the apparent killer, Andrew Cunanan. It was produced by AFI/Filmworks subsidiary Splash Films and Sam Lupowitz of Pan Am Pictures, and filmed in Florida for less than $5 million.

“I felt it was important to have ‘The Versace Murder’ project completed entirely in Miami using local crews and cast, from pre-production to post-production,” said AFI/Filmworks co-owner William G. Randall, who co-produced and served as director of photography. “We have highly talented people in South Florida. I wanted them to have the opportunity to show off their talents.”

Versace was gunned down outside his South Beach home July 15. Cunanan shot himself several days later in a nearby houseboat.

The designer’s death has inspired a second film, based on a book by Vanity Fair special correspondent Maureen Orth. She had been researching a story on Cunanan before Versace died; the story then became a Dell Publishing book, which Warner Bros. optioned for producer Jerry Weintraub. A scribe has been hired but no script has emerged yet.