Feud: Bette and Joan, the US drama series which examines the hate-filled relationship between Hollywood stars Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, is coming to BBC2 later this year.
Ryan Murphy’s eight-part series about the pair’s acrimonious relationship stars Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford and Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis.
Other stars of the era will also appear with Catherine Zeta-Jones playing Olivia de Havilland and Kathy Bates taking on Joan Blondell. Judy Davis plays Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper in the show with Alfred Molina as director and producer Robert Aldrich and Stanley Tucci as Warner Bros. studio head Jack L. Warner.
Beginning with Davis and Crawford’s collaboration on the 1962 horror movie What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? the series will show how their detestation continued long after the cameras stopped rolling as well as the stars’ experience with ageism, sexism and misogyny in what proved to be the twilight of their careers.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? saw the stars hatred crystallise with reports of Davis kicking Crawford in the head and of Crawford filling her pockets with rocks during a scene in which Davis had to drag her. The film is about Davis’ ageing actress character who holds Crawford’s paraplegic sister captive in an old Hollywood mansion.
Only Davis was nominated for an Oscar for her work on the film but Crawford launched a campaign to get Acadamy voters not to pick her.
Her plotting was ultimately successful – Davis did not win and Crawford actually went on stage at the 1963 ceremony to collect the prize on behalf of Anne Bancroft, a development which she regarded as a triumph.
Their feud continued throughout the rest of their lives and ended with Crawford’s death in 1977 from a heart attack. Upon hearing the news, Davis reportedly said: “You should never say bad things about the dead, only good … Joan Crawford is dead. Good.”
BBC2 controller Patrick Holland said the drama would be a “real treat” for audiences, adding: “It features some wonderful performances, a flawless recreation of period and a delicious unravelling of a personal drama that had a massive impact on modern cinema.”
Sue Deeks, BBC Head of Programme Acquisition, added: “BBC2 viewers will relish this critically-acclaimed portrayal of Old Hollywood and a famously combustible yet poignant relationship – it is a zesty cocktail of glamour, wit and grit.”
Feud: Bette and Joan will air on BBC2 later in 2017