New Series Features Golden Age Actress Feud

Aleksandra Markovic, Staff Writer

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Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange

Ryan Murphy, producer of Glee and American Horror Story (AHS), has just released a new TV series: Feud. The first episode of the series premiered on March 5, and brought 2.26 million U.S. viewers to the FX channel. The series was created by Murphy, Michael Zam, and Jaffe Cohen.

This series reveals the off screen lives of the 2 Hollywood actresses. The first season was inspired by the famous feud between 2 of the biggest actresses of Hollywood: Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Bette Davis is played by Susan Sarandon, and Joan Crawford is played by Jessica Lange. This series focuses on the relationship between Davis and Crawford during the filming of the 1962 psychological thriller, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Sarandon’s acting perfectly matches Davis’ tough exterior with her well-known accent and short temper, not to mention her resemblance to Davis. She also sings the famous “Letter to Daddy” song that is considered to be one of the best scenes in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Lange revives Crawford with her obsessions over beauty and always looking her best. Lange is familiar with playing the role of an older woman who longs for a youthful look, having done just that in Season 3 of American Horror Story. 

The casting for Feud is impeccable. Sarandon and Lange portray the famous feud by acting as polar opposites, but are even better when their similarities are reveled. Davis and Crawford both experienced periods in their careers when roles were difficult to find, and when they were passed over for younger actresses, which Murphy depicts.

The show is a new direction for Murphy since his previous projects were works of fiction.  Unfortunately, this new series is not quite up to par with his earlier work. The performances by Sarandon and Lange bring the nearly forgotten feud back to life, and reveal much that an audience may not yet know about the period and the people. Partly alcoholic and ludicrous, but quite emotional – the audience sees it all.

Feud, like a lot of Murphy’s work, is well developed. To any Murphy fans out there, it’s worth seeing.

The 2nd season, called Charles and Diana, will premiere in 2018, and is inspired by the relationship between the Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles George and Diana Frances.

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