Lest you thought that Ryan Murphy had left his high-camp obsessions (if not his 360-degree shots) behind him with American Crime Story, Deadline is here to disabuse you of that notion. In rather glorious fashion, actually: The trade paper reports that the Hydra that is Murphy’s presence at FX has just sprouted another head, a new anthology series called Feud, whose premise is exactly what it sounds like.
The first season will explore the relationship of famous frenemies Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, who first locked glamorous horns in the ’30s and whose rivalry reached its peak on the set of their 1962 movie Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?. Even Prince could learn something about being shady from these two: Crawford was married to the head of Pepsi-Cola at the time, so Davis had a Coke machine installed in her dressing room. In return, Crawford—whose character in the film was paralyzed in a car accident—made sure to fill her pockets with rocks when Davis was supposed to pick her up and drag her across the floor. And that famous scene where Davis serves Crawford a rat for lunch? Yeah, it was real:
After Crawford died of a heart attack in 1977, Davis told the media: “You should never say bad things about the dead, only good. Joan Crawford is dead. Good!”
But who, in contemporary Hollywood, has the bitchy fortitude and inborn sense of superiority necessary to dramatize such a legendary rivalry? That’s right: Jessica Lange (as Joan Crawford) and Susan Sarandon (as Bette Davis). We don’t have a lot to say about that casting, except that it is spot-on—and probably a better use of Lange’s time than American Horror Story at this point—and that, somewhere, a fiftysomething drag queen just achieved nirvana.
The network has given Feud an eight-episode straight-to-series order, because you don’t say no to Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon. (Or Brad Pitt, who will executive produce alongside Murphy.) Production is set to begin this fall for a 2017 premiere.