Ryan Murphy’s newest FX show is all about one of Hollywood’s juiciest rivalries: Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.
Feud will tackle a new celeb altercation each season and first up is Davis (played by Susan Sarandon) and Crawford (played by Jessica Lange), who clashed during the production of 1962’s Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
But the show takes on a sadly very current theme: what Hollywood does (and doesn’t do) with older actresses. Davis and Crawford were often pitted against each other, with the public encouraging the rivalry between the two women. It reached a fever pitch when they co-starred in Baby Jane. During a scene where Jane (Davis) was supposed to beat up Blanche (Crawford), Bette Davis allegedly actually hit Joan Crawford. Later, when Blanche drags Jane across the room, Crawford allegedly made her body as heavy as possible to worsen Davis’ back problems. That’s some real stuff.
At the TCA Press Tour, Lange and Sarandon spoke about playing the two legendary actresses. “At the time when Feud takes place, Joan was 10 years younger when than I am now, and yet her career was finished because of her age,” Lange said during the press tour. “We’ve tried to investigate what that does to a woman, and for Joan, who was known for her tremendous beauty — what happens when that beauty is no longer considered viable?”
And things are not necessarily much better now. None of 2014’s 100 highest-grossing films featured women over 45 in a leading role, according to a 2015 USC study. “Aging actresses still have the same problem, I guarantee that,” Sarandon said, while also noting that things are improving with more female producers. “And also actresses are developing their own projects…and then there’s Ryan Murphy!”
Feud premieres on March 5 on FX which is not soon enough in our opinion.