Whatever Happened to Bette and Joan?

SoHo will premiere the latest Ryan (American Horror Story) Murphy sensation, Feud: Bette and Joan, on March 7.

The first instalment in the new anthology franchise explores how Bette Davis and Joan Crawford “endured ageism, sexism, and misogyny while struggling to hang on to success and fame in the twilight of their careers”.

It’s set against the backdrop of their rivalry during the making of Robert Aldrich’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and stars Jessica Lange as Crawford and Susan Sarandon as Davis.

Deadline Hollywood reports Murphy and and the two lead actresses told TV critics that Feud explores what Hollywood still does to women:

Lange called it a “microcosm of what happens to women generally as they age, whether they become invisible, or unattractive, or undesirable,” noting Crawford was a decade younger than Lange is now, when she shot the movie. The essence of the movie is summed up, she said, in a line delivered by Stanley Tucci, as studio boss Jack Warner: “Would you fuck these two broads?”

Murphy shut down one male TV critic who’d asked him to address the show’s “layers of camp” – Baby Jane being “high camp” and the two famously feuding 30’s-40’s movie stars also being the stuff of camp.

This edition of Feud is “something much more delicate and moving,” Murphy pushed back, insisting the project is “doing something deeper and emotional and painful” and making it clear this is not a campfest.

“What happened to both women was painful,” Murphy said, noting that, in her last movie Crawford starred opposite an actor in an ape mask, while Davis shot eight TV pilots, none of which got picked up. Feud “leans into the pain and talks about the tragedy of their lives,” he said.

Rounding out the cast are Alfred Molina as Aldrich and Judy Davis as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper.

Also new to SoHo in March will be the fifth and penultimate season of The Americans (9.30 Tuesdays from March 14) and Becoming Warren Buffet (March 7), an HBO documentary about the legendary billionaire that features never released home videos and family photos, archival footage, and interviews with family and friends.

March box set weekends will includes seasons one of Rome and Taboo, four of Orphan Black, five of Veep and three of Silicon Valley.

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