Penelope Cruz didn't want to be a "caricature" of Donatella Versace in 'The Assassination of Gianni Versace'.

Penelope Cruz

Penelope Cruz

The 43-year-old actress plays the role of the Italian fashion designer in Ryan Murphy's latest installment of 'American Crime Story', which is slated for release next year, but the star has admitted she struggled to perfect the 62-year-old's accent, because she didn't want to do an "imitation" of the mogul - who lost her brother in 1997 - but to "capture the essence" of her.

Speaking in an interview with fellow actress Gwyneth Paltrow for Interview magazine, the brunette beauty said: "I worked a lot with a dialogue coach to find the way that Donatella speaks, which is a little different from the way she spoke in the '90s. The accent that she has, it's Italian with a very international flavour--very rock 'n' roll. I didn't want to do an imitation of Donatella, or a caricature. I wanted to try to capture the essence of who she is."

And the 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' star "really hopes" Donatella - who took over the Italian fashion house Versace after her sibling passed away - watches the show and is "happy" with the production, although she has no doubts certain scenes will strike a chord with the businesswoman.

Penelope said: " This is a delicate story, because I'm playing someone who is alive, someone who lost her brother in a horrible way, and someone who still misses him very much 20 years later.

" really hope that when [Donatella] sees the show, she's going to be happy. I'm sure there are going to be scenes that are hard for her to watch, because it's a lot about the loss of her brother ... I did it with all my love. From that place of devastation, she had to keep this company going in his honour. I don't know if she ever said this, but it was a way of keeping him alive."

Penelope stars in the production alongside Edgar Ramirez, who will play Gianni Versace and Ricky Martin, who portrays Gianni's partner Antonio D'Amico.