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Feud: Bette and Joan premieres tonight, March 5, 10pm on FX.
Besides Glee and Nip/Tuck (Do you even remember that show?) Ryan Murphy has found success in developing anthologies: series that presents a different story and a different set of characters in each season. Sometimes, as in American Horror Story, he employs a permanent troupe of staple actors who will appear in a different drama each year.
Tonight marks the beginning of Feud, a new Ryan Murphy-produced anthology series that will explore some of history’s greatest duels. The first eight-episode edition stars Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon as Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, respectively. The season will chronicle Crawford and Davis’ combative collaboration on the big-screen classic What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, which went on to garner five Oscar nominations. Alfred Molina co-stars as Baby Jane director Robert Aldrich, Stanley Tucci plays studio exec Jack Warner and Judy Davis portrays gossip legend Hedda Hopper. Dominic Burgess, meanwhile, will step into the role of Crawford and Davis’ Baby Jane co-star Victor Buono.
Just like in American Crime Story, Murphy is taking a true story and serializing it. The People v. O.J. Simpson was both acclaimed and popular. It’s quite a novel idea to create self-contained miniseries, following separate unrelated true events. FX Networks is certainly betting on another winner. “Feud adds a third and equally ambitious franchise to Ryan’s unprecedented slate of FX anthological limited series,” said FX CEO John Landgraf in a statement. ”The series will offer a seductive, insightful look at what lies behind legendary personality conflicts.”
The conflict between Crawford and Davis is well-known and documented, and Lange and Sarandon are the perfect actresses to portray these leading ladies. The costumes and makeup really transform Sarandon and Lange into the starlets of yesteryear. It’s exciting to see a show with two strong women being depicted by two strong actors. Murphy fans will be eager to see Lange, as well as Kathy Bates and Sarah Paulson. True to the Murphy style, there’s drama, over-the top acting, as well as hate and revenge. I can’t wait to see the rest of the season.