When I first heard that Gina Gershon was being cast as Donatella Versace in Lifetime's upcoming House of Versace film, I thought, HOLY CRAP THAT IS GENIUS. There's only one other Hollywood figure I can think of who would be equally well-suited to play the part, and that's Janice the Muppet.
Some might think that impersonating Donatella Versace would be an easy enough task for any actress, providing you slap on enough self-tanner and wear a long blonde wig. But Gina Gershon has exactly the right sort of face for the job -- that wide, gorgeous mouth of hers is perfect.
Lifetime has just released the first image of Gershon in character as Versace, and my suspicions were correct: she is UNRECOGNIZABLE. As herself, I mean. Because she looks exactly like a young Donatella, down to the heavy-lidded gaze and downturned pout.
Here's the photo:
Amazing, right? I mean, that is quite the transformation. It remains to be seen how she comes across when she's not frozen into a promotional pose, but that picture is crazy. Compare and contrast to the real Donatella:
According to the movie's makeup artist, Gershon put in a LOT of time in the makeup chair to get this look. Cotton was stuffed under her upper lip (this detail makes me feel oddly sympathetic towards Donatella -- wouldn't it be weird to know that in order for someone to look like you, they had to wedge cotton under their lip?), and her nose was reshaped "using highlight and shadow and with different intensity for every stage of [Donatella’s] life.”
The Lifetime photo seems to show a younger Donatella, and we'll likely see some dramatic progression in the amount of makeup and lighting used as her character ages. Gershon says,
She goes through an evolution — she physically changes, as we all know, through the years and it was important to be as truthful about that as possible.
The movie is based on the book House of Versace: The Untold Story of Genius, Murder, and Survival. It focuses on the shocking murder of her brother, Gianni Versace, which thrust Donatella into the spotlight as Versace’s head designer. She struggled with drug abuse and nearly bankrupted the company, but eventually entered rehab and came back to build one of the most influential fashion houses in the world.
I've liked Gina Gershon ever since I saw her in Bound, way back in 1996. I'm glad she got this part, and I hope she rocks it.
What do you think of this first look at Gina Gershon as Donatella Versace?
Images via palmdiscipline/Flickr, Lifetime, Vogue