As a frequent member of Ryan Murphy’s core ensemble, Finn Wittrock is used to being murdered. But in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, there’s the added weight of playing the real-life victim of who is referred to as a America’s first gay serial killer.
“It was surreal,” Wittrock tells INTO. “It was one of the most, just physically and technically one of the hardest things. I was dead and covered in blood and prosthetics for about 12 hours for three days, and they kept telling me they were going to use a fake body double but they used me a lot more than I thought they would. I feel like I earned my stripes that day.”
In the new FX mini-series, Wittrock plays 28-year-old Jeffrey Traill, a former lieutenant in the U.S. Navy whose time in the military coincided with the realization of his homosexuality as well as the instatement of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Traill, a Gulf War veteran from a blue collar Illinois family, once appeared on 48 Hours to discuss being gay in the navy, though he was shrouded in shadowy anonymity to protect himself from dishonorable discharge.
“Gays are here in the military,” Traill told host Richard Schlesinger. “We perform our jobs and we do it well. … You’re gonna weaken our national defense if you remove gays from the military. And you’ll never be able to do it 100 percent—it’s just whether or not you continue to hunt us and force us to fear.”