If you thought prolific TV writer/director/producer Ryan Murphy was already the busiest person on the planet, just you wait. Murphy has set up a third anthology series at FX, this time with starpower and premise clout in equal measure. Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon will lead Feud, which recounts the legendary rift between actresses Joan Crawford and Bette Davis on the 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Lange will play Crawford while Sarandon will play Davis, and FX has set this thing straight-to-series with an eight-episode first season, with Murphy executive producing alongside Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner and directing several episodes himself.
Crawford and Davis played a pair of aging sisters in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, and quickly came to loathe one another during production as the picture marked an incredibly important point in both of their careers. Davis was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her work, but Crawford contacted all the other Best Actress nominees who were unable to attend, offering to accept in their stead. When Anne Bancroft won the award, meaning Davis had lost, Crawford took to the Oscars stage to triumphantly pick up the trophy in Bancroft’s stead.
Indeed, this feud was legendary and lasted both actresses’ entire lives, so it certainly makes for juicy narrative material. The pilot is based in part on the script Best Actress by Jaffe Cohen and Michael Zam, and lest you think Lange and Sarandon is the end of this show’s starpower, the ensemble also includes Alfred Molina as the film’s director Robert Aldrich, Stanley Tucci as studio head Jack Warner, Judy Davis as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, and Dominic Burgess as co-star Victor Buono.
While Murphy’s output tends to be hit or miss, he’s coming off the absolutely phenomenal American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, and Feud sounds like a ton of fun, so I’m all in here. Moreover, since this is an anthology series, one can start to imagine the various other legendary feuds that could take center stage in subsequent seasons.
So this marks four concurrent series on the air for Ryan Murphy, between Feud, American Crime Story, American Horror Story, and Fox’s Scream Queens. When does this guy sleep?