Ricky Martin returns to television in 2018.
The singer appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Tuesday to discuss his role in Ryan Murphy’s “American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.” The interview was an important first for Martin, who previously starred in television series in Latin America and appeared on “General Hospital” in the U.S.
“Can we just take a moment to absorb the fact this is my first interview in America as an actor? I love this,” he told DeGeneres.
The new season of FX’s award-winning anthology series, which premieres Jan. 17, delves into the murder of famed fashion designer Gianni Versace, the last of five people killed by Andrew Cunanan over a three-month period in 1997. The series also examines what fueled the killing spree by Cunanan, who killed himself a few days after Versace’s murder.
Martin portrays Versace’s longtime boyfriend, the model Antonio D’Amico, joining Edgar Ramirez as Versace, Penelope Cruz as the designer’s younger sister, Donatella Versace, and Darren Criss as Cunanan.
When DeGeneres showed a photo of Martin as D’Amico in a swimsuit, the audience cheered.
“Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do,” he responded with a laugh. “And it gets better though, to be honest. I show my tush for the first time on television.”
“You sure do, and more than that,” DeGeneres added.
The Puerto Rican star told her that the series tackles the rampant homophobia that existed in the 1990s, which he said set the stage for Versace’s death, and the relevance of that issue today.
“We’re still dealing with things that we dealt with in the ’90s,” Martin said. “[Cunanan] went on a killing spree for months ... and he was on the list of most wanted of the FBI. He was not hiding, but for some reason they never found him. So it’s like, ‘Wait, he’s killing gay men, let’s look the other way.’ And that’s what we’re trying to confront at this moment.”
Series creator Murphy has also spoken about this theme.
“We’re trying to talk about a crime within a social idea,” Murphy told reporters during the summer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Versace, who was [Cunanan’s] last victim, did not have to die. One of the reasons [Cunanan] was able to make his way across the country and pick off these victims, many of whom were gay, was because of homophobia at the time.”
Watch Martin’s full interview above.