On the eve of its TV debut, Lifetime's "House of Versace" was slammed by the fashion house for not seeking its consent. "Versace has neither authorized nor had any involvement whatsoever in the forthcoming TV movie about Mrs. Versace," the firm said in a statement released on October 3.
They took issue with the book on which the TV movie is based, "House of Versace: The Untold Story of Genius, Murder and Survival" by Deborah Ball. The company added, "Since Versace did not authorize the book on which it is based, the movie should only be seen as a work of fiction."
The TV movie director, Sara Sugarman, later responded to the statement. Met at the screening of her TV work on Thursday night, she said, "The truth is that they haven't seen it. They chose to separate themselves from it, to protect themselves."
Sugarman admitted that they indeed didn't reach out to Donatella Versace nor the company during the making. "We kept away, because we didn't want to get into Donatella being one of the producers," she explained. "We just wanted to tell a story and tell it well and get the best actor for the job, which I believe we did."
Sugarman went on saying that the Versace camp was upset that they didn't get to be turned into a feature film. "I think they kind of wanted it to be a big movie," Sugarman said. "But television movies are getting made more and more, and they're much more ambitious than they were."
Still, she suggested Donatella to watch the TV movie. "I think [she] would be pleased with it because it's a redemption story. She's so brave and very human. And she kept it together in the end," so she claimed.
"House of Versace" is set to premiere Sunday, October 5 at 8 P.M. ET on Lifetime. It centers on Donatella (Gina Gershon) who, following the murder of her brother Gianni Versace (Enrico Colantoni), is suddenly thrust into the spotlight as head designer of his fashion empire. At first ridiculed by critics worldwide, Donatella falls victim to drug addiction and nearly bankrupts the company.
With the help of her family, including daughter Allegra, Aunt Lucia (Raquel Welch) and brother Santo (Colm Feore), she enters rehab to confront her demons and soon comes back stronger than ever to re-ignite the beloved Versace brand with her own vision and builds one of the most powerful and influential fashion houses ever known.