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Penelope Cruz to play Donatella Versace in 'American Crime Story'

© AFP/File | Spanish actress Penelope Cruz (pictured) will play her first major television role as Donatella Versace in FX's 'Versace: American Crime Story'

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - 

Penelope Cruz will play her first major television role as Donatella Versace in FX's "Versace: American Crime Story," the third season of the hit show, the network said on Monday.

The Oscar-winning Spanish actress will be joined by Edgar Ramirez ("Point Break," "The Girl on the Train") who will play Gianni Versace in the series looking at the fashion designer's murder in 1997.

Filming is scheduled to begin in April and the show will air next year.

"Cruz has proven herself to be one of the most versatile actresses by playing a variety of compelling characters, and becoming the first actress from Spain to be nominated for and win an Academy Award," FX said in a statement.

The 42-year-old's Hollywood output includes "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" (2001), "Gothika" (2003) and "Volver" (2006), for which she earned a best actress Oscar nomination.

She went one better with a win for best supporting actress for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008) and was nominated again for her support role the following year in "Nine."

The first season of "American Crime Story" -- "The People v. O.J. Simpson" -- ended its initial 10-episode run as cable's most-watched new series of the year, pulling in an average seven-day audience of 7.5 million.

It also won nine Emmy Awards, including for best limited series and acting statuettes for Courtney B. Vance, Sarah Paulson and Sterling K. Brown.

The show, which took viewers inside the Simpson trial and explored the chaotic, behind-the-scenes dealings and maneuvering on both sides, is now available worldwide on Netflix.

A second season focusing on the response to Hurricane Katrina is due to air on FX next year, shortly before season three.

© 2017 AFP