Did 'What Ever Happened To Cousin Charlotte?' Get Made? Joan Crawford & Bette Davis' Second Movie Had Major Conflicts
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is known for being the only collaboration between the rival movie stars Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. However, during the episode "Hagsploitation," Crawford and Davis began working on another movie on Feud. According to Feud, Jack Warner didn't want other studios making more popular "hagspolitation" films than Warner Bros., so he recruited director Robert Aldrich to recreate the magic of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? with Crawford and Davis in What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte?. Yet, with so much turmoil being shown during production of the film on Feud already, did What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte? ever get made? If you don't want a Hollywood history lesson to ruin Feud for you, then perhaps stop reading, but the drama that surrounded the creation of What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte? is perhaps some of the most concrete evidence that there was legitimate bad blood between Davis and Crawford.
Based on a story by Henry Farrell, the same author of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte? shared the theme of a psychological and horrifying battle between family matters as Baby Jane. Yet, as Feud shows, Susan Sarandon's Davis wanted the name to change. According to TCM, it really was Davis' idea to change the title of the film to help differentiate it from the 1962 Baby Jane film. The movie's title was updated to Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte so it wouldn't seem like a sequel to Baby Jane. However, if that disappoints you because you're a fan of the "What Ever Happened to...?" question titles, don't worry. There was another movie that used the same title setup in 1969 — What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? with Geraldine Page, who (go figure) was featured in the previous episode of Feud.
As for the Cousin Charlotte cast, Stanley Tucci's Warner was shown wanting the same actresses as the original "hagsploitation" film from his studio, so he had Alfred Molina's Aldrich woo both of the legendary actresses to work together again. That meant that originally, What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte? shared the same director, starring actresses, supporting actor (Victor Buono), and source writer — not to mention that outrageously similar title — as What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. Yet, beyond the final film's name changing, so did one of the stars. That's because Crawford eventually left the film and Aldrich replaced her with another familiar face from Feud — Olivia de Havilland.
I won't go into all of the details of Crawford's departure, so as not to spoil Jessica Lange's story line for future episodes of Feud, but it was obvious from the April 9 episode that although Davis and Crawford spoke about being a unified team during production, that isn't what really came to pass. So while you can't watch What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte? with Davis and Crawford, you can watch the 1964 film Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte with Davis and de Havilland, which should help satiate your Feud-loving heart.