Olivia de Havilland, Ryan Murphy, FX, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Feud

Olivia De Havilland Launches A Lawsuit Against FX And Ryan Murphy Over Her ‘Feud’ Portrayal

Ryan Murphy’s Feud has sparked a new feud with his portrayal of classic Hollywood actresses Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, and Olivia de Havilland. Specifically, Ms. de Havilland is unhappy with the way Catherine Zeta-Jones portrayed her in the FX series and the Gone with the Wind actress is upset enough about it to sue Murphy and FX over it.

Olivia de Havilland Sparks A Feud Of Her Own

Ryan Murphy might have felt free to use his creative license in re-enacting the historical events surrounding the feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, but, as the Hollywood Reporter shares, there’s one person left to raise an objection. At 101 years old, Olivia de Havilland is the only person still living from that period in Hollywood history and she’s taking offense to Ryan’s interpretation of events in Feud.

Ryan Murphy opened the first episode of his Feud series with a scene that had Ms. Zeta-Jones portraying Olivia gossiping with reporters about the relationship between Davis and Crawford. In her lawsuit filed against Mr. Murphy and the FX studio, Ms. de Havilland states that she has taken pride in not engaging in such rumormongering.

In representing Ms. de Havilland, attorney Suzelle Smith states that lines spoken by Catherine Zeta-Jones, acting as Olivia in Feud, were all false. She pointedly adds that some of the conversations were entire fabrications and not based in any fact.

“FX defendants did not engage in protected First Amendment speech in putting false words into the mouth of Olivia de Havilland in a fake interview that did not occur and would not have occurred,” the court documents assert.

Feud, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Olivia de Havilland
‘Feud’ casts Catherine Zeta-Jones as Olivia de Havilland. [Image by FX]

Feud Showrunner Ryan Murphy Admitted He Never Personally Spoke With Olivia de Havilland

Entertainment Weekly reports that Ryan Murphy openly admitted that he never attempted to contact de Havilland, while researching the historical events pertaining to the Feud plot. He says he felt it would have been “disrespectful” to grill the retired actress about that period in her life. Instead, the Feud showrunner relied on his own research and on an interview he personally conducted with Bette Davis, shortly before she passed away.

In the long run, the Feud showrunner might have been better off to have reached out to Olivia, because, according to court documents, she feels entirely misrepresented by the Catherine Zeta-Jones interpretation. In addition to implying that de Havilland was a gossip, Feud also has Zeta-Jones using curse words, which is something Ms. Smith states is entirely uncharacteristic of Olivia.

In her court filings, Suzelle says Olivia de Havilland has prided herself on maintaining a reputation for “good manners, class and kindness,” which is something Olivia feels wasn’t incorporated into her Feud persona.

Olivia de Havilland, Feud
Olivia de Havilland is upset over the way she was portrayed in the ‘Feud’ television series. [Image by Francois Durand/Getty Images]

Naming Ryan Murphy and FX as co-defendants, Olivia de Havilland is suing for infringement of common law right of publicity, invasion of privacy, and unjust enrichment. She’s asking for damages, profits obtained through the use of her likeness, and is also requesting an injunction against FX to keep them from using her name or likeness.

[Featured Image by David Livingston/Getty Images]

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