Given that she’s old enough to get a shoutout from Al Roker when her birthday rolls around, Olivia De Havilland has no time to waste when it comes to getting her lawsuit against FX and Ryan Murphy Productions settled. According to The Hollywood Reporter, De Havilland has invoked a California statue that allows for litigation brought by someone 70 or older to be fast-tracked, essentially acknowledging that, if the defense drags its feet long enough, the plaintiff could die before the case is resolved. It’s now set for a hearing in Los Angeles court on September 13, which is speedy even by celebrity standards. (FX’s lawyers have yet to file their formal response to De Havilland’s suit.)
De Havilland is suing the network and Murphy’s production company over her depiction in FX’s Feud: Bette And Joan, specifically its depiction of her as a gossip—which was apparently very insulting to De Havilland—and a line where she calls her sister a “bitch,” which the suit says “stands in stark contrast with Olivia de Havilland’s reputation for good manners, class, and kindness.” Although she’s the only living person to be depicted on the series, Murphy decided not to contact her about it before making it, saying he didn’t want to “intrude.” De Havilland’s lawyer says she hopes to have the case settled “well in advance of her 102nd birthday,” which will be on July 1, 2018.
UPDATE: FX has responded to De Havilland’s newest legal move with a statement printed in Deadline, and it sounds like the centenarian actress has a legal fight on her hands. Here’s what Fox 21 Productions has to say:
Our project was a meticulously researched dramatization of the well-documented feud between actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. The law on this is very clear: no permissions of any kind were required in order to tell the tale. Docudramas, such as this one, are original narrative works, based on real, verifiable facts and events. By the logic of Ms. de Havilland’s attorneys, no producer would be able to tell any stories about famous people, living or dead without their consent. We respectfully disagree with Ms. de Havilland’s objections to her portrayal, and we stand by the content, including her portrayal, and will vigorously defend this project.