Bette Davis and Joan Crawford’s notorious Hollywood feud is set to be the subject of Ryan Murphy’s upcoming anthology series on FX. Now, the official trailer for Feud: Bette and Joan has been released with the tagline: “They hated each other. And we loved them for it.”
The buzzy new series, which details Bette Davis’ and Joan Crawford’s famous rivalry that hit its peak during the making of the 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, stars Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis. Murphy favorite Jessica Lange plays Joan Crawford in the eight-episode series. You can see the official trailer for Feud: Bette and Joan below.
Earlier this week, Susan Sarandon appeared on the Today show to reveal that Ryan Murphy approached her about playing Bette Davis several years ago when Feud was first in the works. At the time, the story about Davis and Crawford was being considered for a TV movie. Sarandon told Today host Kathie Lee Gifford why a regular movie about Bette Davis and her rival would never work.
“It just seemed like a one-joke thing,” she said
“They hate each other, they’re b*tchy… so what? When [Murphy] placed it in the eight hours there could be a context and they could say something more about Hollywood and has it changed so much? What went on for aging actresses then? Or now?”
To prep for the role as Bette Davis, Sarandon said she hired a vocal coach and then listened to Bette’s interviews for three weeks straight.
“I can’t say that I share her ambition, but I became more and more respectful of who she was,” Sarandon told Entertainment Weekly. “She regretted that she married so many times…I never saw myself as being one of the beautiful girls. I was always the character girl, not the main pretty girl who got the guy. So I kind of understood that and related to that.”
Sarandon added that it was challenging for her and Lange to recreate Davis’ and Crawford’s iconic Baby Jane performances for the TV series.
“The hardest thing was re-creating those scenes gesture to gesture and trying to get exactly the cadence of the voice to match,” she said.
Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange in Feud: Bette and Joan. pic.twitter.com/koPcVcb4yA
— Jessica Lange (@JLangeDaily) February 13, 2017
As for how Bette Davis and Joan Crawford came to be such notorious rivals, the Hollywood Reporter recently posted a timeline of the feud between the late movie legends, which dates back to the 1930s and a romantic rivalry over actor Franchot Tone. After Davis had fallen in love with her leading man on the set of the 1935 movie Dangerous, Crawford swooped in with an invite to her house in which she allegedly greeted him naked. Bette’s rival later married Franchot Tone.
Fast forward nearly 30 years, and the women went head to head on the Whatever Happened to Baby Jane set. The actress’s on-set antics included rumors of a physical brawl in which Bette Davis allegedly kicked her co-star in her head and a story about Crawford filling her pockets with rocks ahead of the scene in which Bette Davis had to drag her across the room.
— RetroUniverse (@MyRetroUniverse) February 4, 2017
To add fuel to the fire, the arch-enemies’ rivalry went into high gear when Bette Davis received an Oscar nomination for her performance in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane and Crawford was overlooked. While Bette lost the 1963 Best Actress Oscar to The Miracle Worker star Anne Bancroft, Joan raised eyebrows by accepting the award on an absent Bancroft’s behalf, according to TV Guide.
Two years later, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford attempted to reunite for the sequel movie Hush Sweet Charlotte. However, Davis quickly got under her co-star’s skin by installing a Coca-Cola machine on set, knowing full well that Crawford was on the board of her late husband Alfred Steele’s Pepsi Cola Company. Crawford soon left the production of the movie with claims of a medical ailment, and Bette Davis reportedly hired a private investigator to follow her. Bette Davis’ close friend, actress Olivia de Havilland, ultimately replaced Joan in the movie.
Bette Davis died in 1989, 12 years after the death of her longtime rival.
Feud: Bette and Joan premieres Sunday, March 5 at 10 p.m. ET on FX.
[Featured Image Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons]