The finale of American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace raises more questions than it answers. While, sure, the “story” is wrapped up — because Andrew Cunanan takes his own life, thus ending the week-long man hunt to find him in Miami — there’s still more to talk about. As the episode sort of teases but doesn’t really elaborate on, Andrew’s father, Modesto Cunanan, was looking to make a documentary about him.
Because yes, estranged fathers are always trying to capitalize on the murders their sons perpetrated — or, at least that’s how American Crime Story portrays it.
As we saw in the penultimate episode of the series, Modesto Cunanan may (or may not have) embezzled a ton of money from his work and family. He did eventually flees the country and return back to his original home, Philippines. When Andrew later goes to visit him, the two don’t really get along (Andrew really doesn’t like the living conditions), so he returns home; Modesto stayed in the Philippines.
And then, Andrew murdered some people and the authorities call Modesto. Modesto believes that his son is a good kid, and would never do anything like that. So, in order to really prove this, he’s going to make a documentary about it. For real.
According to a 1997 story in The Los Angeles Times, dated September of that same year (so roughly three months after Andrew’s death), Modesto explained that he planned to travel to the United States an.d make this documentary. As the LA Times writes, this documentary will “allow him to ‘sleuth around’ into the facts of the bizarre case by interviewing some of his son’s close friends and acquaintances.”
Also, once returning to the U.S., Modesto was going to ask to be “named executor of his son’s estate” — aka the one responsible for all remaining possessions, including money and any will that might have been drafted. Basically, to put it nicely, Modesto was looking for $$$.
Okay, but this documentary — real or not real? Good question. As far as my internet sleuthing can tell, nothing ever came of it. Honestly, Modesto’s footprint goes cold after this LA Times interview in 1997, and there hasn’t been anything else about him since.
Earlier this year, Maureen Orth, who wrote the book this season of ACS was based on, recounted meeting Modesto once after Andrew’s death. As she writes for Vanity Fair,
“Cunanan told me that Andrew was being set up by the mafia, and maybe I could go in on the movie treatment he was peddling about Andrew for half a million dollars. ‘I know who should play him,’ [Modesto] Cunanan said. ‘John F. Kennedy Jr.'”
Sure, Modesto. Sure.