Judith Light Interview: ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace’
“I’m so honored to be nominated with all of these incredible artists, so it’s very special for me this year,” exclaims Judith Light about her Emmy nomination for her role as Marilyn Miglin in “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.” In our exclusive interview (watch the video above), the two-time Tony winner reflects not only on her fourth Emmy nomination, but on the relevance of the limited series in the national discussion of issues affecting the LGBTQ community. “18 Emmy nominations tells you a lot, not just about the artistry but about the compelling nature of the story.”
The series documents the crime spree of serial killer Andrew Cunanan (Emmy nominee Darren Criss) that culminated in the murder of legendary fashion designer Gianni Versace (Emmy nominee Edgar Ramirez). Light says she felt a special pressure playing Marilyn, a wealthy cosmetics and perfume mogul whose husband Lee (Mike Farrell) was brutally murdered by Cunanan: “I really felt that I wanted to be deferential to her, and this great loss of this great love of her life. So to do it justice and to also be responsible, and to not create a caricature is always a challenge.”
Light credits the writing of Emmy-nominee Tom Rob Smith with giving the role an added level of complexity, saying that Smith’s writing was full of “complications and layers, which is what a I love and what great writing is, and great storytelling.” She calls her co-star Farrell remarkable, saying “It was just very natural — the way that we were working together. So there wasn’t anything that was spoken or structured. We just knew that we were simpatico on a lot of different levels.”
A longtime advocate for the LGBTQ community, Light calls the series “a history lesson” and a “reminder that if we don’t pay attention to what has gone before, that if we do not learn from our history we are doomed to repeat it.” She wonders if Cunanan’s trajectory in life might have been altered by a society that accepted him as a gay man. She explains, “This story might have had a very different ending if we related differently as human beings to other people and who they are, and the way they are.”
Light is a two-time Daytime Emmy winner for “One Life to Live.” This year marks her fourth Primetime Emmy nomination, with previous bids for “Ugly Betty” (2007) and “Transparent” (2016, 2017).