Actress Penelope Cruz, who is making her TV debut on American Crime Story: The Assassination Of Gianni Versace, admits transitioning to the small screen took some getting used to initially. “I was not used to the rhythm of doing television,”

Cruz shares in an interview conducted by Gwyneth Paltrow in Interview magazine. “Getting four monologues two days before the shoot? And I was doing English with an Italian accent! I was like, ‘This is impossible.’ But then you just do it.”

The 43-year-old Spanish actress plays Italian designer Donatella Versace whose brother Gianni, who founded the renowned fashion brand Versace, was murdered in 1997. To prepare for the project, Cruz made sure she mastered the Italian accent.

“I worked a lot with a dialogue coach to find the way that Donatella speaks, which is a little different from the way she spoke in the 1990s. The accent that she has, it’s Italian with a very international flavour – very rock ’n’ roll. I didn’t want to do an imitation of Donatella, or a caricature. I wanted to try to capture the essence of who she is,” she says.

The actress reveals she also spoke to Donatella herself prior to filming. “A little bit. I needed that conversation. I really hope that when she sees the show, she’s going to be happy. I’m sure there are going to be scenes that are hard for her to watch, because it’s a lot about the loss of her brother, which, of course, I have so much respect for. I did it with all my love. From that place of devastation, she had to keep this company going in his honour. I don’t know if she ever said this, but it was a way of keeping him alive.”

‘American Crime Story: The Assassination Of Gianni Versace’ airs every Thursday at 11pm on FX HD (Astro Ch 726).