Penelope Cruz felt a ''responsibility'' playing Donatella Versace in 'The Assassination of Gianni Versace'.

The Academy Award-winning actress stars as the Italian fashion designer in the Ryan Murphy TV series, and she's admitted to harbouring nerves about playing the icon.

Penelope said: ''You feel much more responsibility [playing a real person].

''When Ryan called me ... I said 'I need to make [a] phone call and talk to Donatella about this' before taking the job.''

And Penelope admitted she only felt comfortable accepting the role on the show - which explores the murder of designer Gianni Versace, Donatella's brother - after she'd spoken to her.

During an appearance on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show', Penelope shared: ''She told me if somebody was going to do it, she was really happy that it was me, because she I think she knows what I feel for her and Gianni.''

The Spanish beauty was also keen to stress how significant the role is to her.

She explained: ''They're the most kind people. It's important to me that when she sees what I've done she can feel the love and respect that I have put there [and] how I feel for her.''

However, Donatella - who serves as the artistic director and vice-president of the world-famous fashion house - previously described the show as a ''work of fiction''.

She revealed, too, that it ''still hurts'' to see Gianni - who was murdered in Florida in 1997 - depicted in an inaccurate way.

Donatella said earlier this month: ''I haven't seen (the series) nor will I see it, because after all this time it still hurts to see Gianni represented untruthfully.''