Ryan Murphy’s newest creation, “Feud,” has premiered on March 5 on FX. The new series chronicles the infamous Hollywood feud between Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) and Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon), actresses in the 1960s. The conflict started when Crawford pitched a horror film titled “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” and suggested to costar her rival Davis. Is the series based on facts or just a mere fiction?
“A lot of this is based on research and a lot of it is based on what Bette Davis told me during my time with her, where I got to ask her these questions. So it was a mixture of both,” Murphy talked to Hollywood Reporter recently.
In the show’s premiere episode, Crawford, trying to save her declining acting career, introduced her authored film to director Robert Aldrich (Alfred Molina), who brought the project to studio head Jack Warner (Stanley Tucci). Warner decided to come on board. But, as the filming commenced, Crawford’s narcissistic attitude and Davis’ arrogance have become a problem.
Murphy indicated that Crawford and Davis were on casual terms at some point until the former thought the director was “kind of throwing to” Davis. Additionally, Warner knew that two women “pitted in the media against each other would probably sell more tickets.”
Based on his research, the creator believes that Aldrich and Warner plotted the gossip.
As the series progresses, the co-executive producer wanted to depict the “larger than life” struggles of the two actresses and how the two men, Aldrich and Warner, had influenced the decisions in the filmmaking.
As for Aldrich, Murphy thinks that the director is a “sort of the unsung hero in the piece.” Like Crawford and Davis, Aldrich still believed that he had something left to offer in Hollywood. Likewise, Warner aimed “to make a culture” in the entertainment industry, but it seemed he’s running out of time.
“You’re fighting to stay relevant and then suddenly you wake up and people have deemed you expired,” Murphy stressed.
The next episode of “Feud” is set to air on March 19 on FX.