Episodes: Ongoing (hour)
TV show dates: March 5, 2017 — present
Series status: Has not been cancelled
Performers include: Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange, Alfred Molina, Stanley Tucci, Judy Davis, Jackie Hoffman, Alison Wright, Dominic Burgess, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, and Kiernan Shipka.
TV show description:
Like American Horror Story and American Crime Story, before it, Feud is an FX anthology drama from creator Ryan Murphy. Each season is a self-contained series within the larger series and tells the story of a famous feud.
Season one features the infamous rivalry between silver screen legends Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) and Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange). The two collaborated on the campy 1962 psychological thriller feature film adaptation of Henry Farrell’s novel, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, from director Robert Aldrich (Alfred Molina) and screenwriter Lukas Hellar. This film-within-the-show tells the story of a former child star, “Baby” Jane Hudson (Bette Davis), who torments her paraplegic sister, Blanche (Joan Crawford).
Because Crawford and Davis could not stand each other, their loathing affected the production and survived well past it. Still, they signed onto the film, in hopes of reviving their flagging careers. In fact, Crawford talked Davis into it, knowing her star-power would be a box office draw. The first season of Feud also shines a spotlight on the ageism, sexism, and downright misogyny Davis and Crawford endured.
Shrewd Canadian-American film executive, Jack L. Warner (Stanley Tucci) was the head of Warner Bros. Studios, which distributed the Davis-Crawford movie. In later years, Davis would speak fondly of her professional relationship with the titan, indicating he took on a “father-figure” role in her life. Still Warner, who was originally opposed to the film, was not above exploiting the tension between his leading ladies for a box office boost
That’s where former actress turned gossip columnist, Hedda Hopper (Judy Davis) comes in. Hopper would make today’s tabloid writers quiver in their Manolo Blahniks. This author of the Los Angeles Times column, “Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood,” had her own feud with professional rival Louella Parsons. Hopper famously referred to her own Beverly Hills home as “The House that Fear Built.”
Davis and Crawford would next board Aldrich’s 1964 film, Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, but Crawford left after only a few weeks, so Davis’ friend, Olivia de Havilland (Catherine Zeta-Jones), went on to take over the role. De Haviland had quite a feud of her own, with her sister, actress Joan Fontaine.
Dominic Burgess plays Crawford and Davis’ Baby Jane co-star, Victor Buono. Sarah Paulson is actress Geraldine Page, who along, with Davis, was nominated for a Lead Actress Academy Award in 1963. The Oscar went to Anne Bancroft, but Crawford accepted it on her behalf, to rub it in Davis’ face.
Rounding out the first season cast are Kathy Bates as Joan Blondell and Kiernan Shipka as B.D., Bette Davis’ daughter with artist William Grant Sherry. B.D. was later adopted by Gary Merrill, Bette’s fourth husband and All About Eve love interest. Jackie Hoffman is Crawford’s housekeeper, Anna Marie Brinke, a.k.a. “Mamacita.” Alison Wright plays Aldrich’s assistant, Pauline Jameson.
Season two centers on the failed marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
This episode has not aired yet.
First aired: TBD
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