The 'Feud' Cast vs. Their Real-Life Counterparts Shows The Embarrassment Of Riches On The FX Anthology Series
Is there anything juicier than a true behind-the-scenes story of Hollywood backstabbing and betrayal? Ryan Murphy certainly doesn't seem to think so, as he's crafted the first season of his new anthology series entirely around that concept. The incredible cast of Feud: Bette And Joan that Murphy has assembled will recreate the real-life saga of the bitter rivalry between two of America's biggest movie stars, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, which came to a head when the pair starred onscreen together for the first time in the campy 1962 thriller What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? — a film that was supposed to revitalize both of their careers and instead led to one of the most infamous on-set enmities in the history of Hollywood.
The roster of talent that Murphy has put together for his third FX series — following the successes of American Horror Story and American Crime Story — contains everything from multi-Oscar winners to promising child actors, from prestige drama alums to sketch comedy favorites. It will surely be a thrill to watch them bring to life the iconic faces and over-sized egos of the movie stars, directors, producers, and gossip columnists involved in the legendary production of Baby Jane.
Here are the recognizable faces you'll see when you tune into the premiere of Feud this weekend… and the famous real-life person each actor will be portraying:
1. Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford
Fans will obviously recognized Jessica Lange from her starring role in the first four seasons of Murphy's American Horror Story, playing a faded would-be actress, a tyrannical nun, a youth-coveting witch, and a delusional carnival owner. She has six Oscar nominations, including two wins for her supporting role in 1982's Tootsie and her leading role in 1994's Blue Sky; she also has three Emmys for her roles in AHS: Murder House and Coven as well as HBO's Grey Gardens; and she has a Tony Award for her role in the 2016 Broadway revival of Long Day's Journey Into Night.
Crawford started as a silent film actress in the 1920s before transitioning to talkies with the rest of Hollywood in the '30s. Her credits included the likes of Grand Hotel, The Gorgeous Hussy, and The Women before winning an Oscar for her iconic role in 1945's Mildred Pierce. She would go on to earn two more nominations (for 1947's Possessed and 1952's Sudden Fear) before starring alongside Bette Davis in Baby Jane a decade later. Her daughter, Christina Crawford, published a book about her mother titled Mommie Dearest, which was later turned into a 1981 film starring Faye Dunaway as Crawford.
2. Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis
Unlike her co-star, this is Sarandon's first time working with Ryan Murphy. After making a name for herself as Janet in 1975's The Rocky Horror Picture Show, she went on to become a five-time Oscar nominee for films like Thelma & Louise and The Client, including one win for 1995's Dead Man Walking. She also has eight Golden Globe nominations and four Emmy nominations to her name. She'll next appear in the film The Death And Life Of John F. Donovan alongside Kit Harington, Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, Thandie Newton, and fellow Feud star Kathy Bates.
Davis was one of the most prolific and well-known actresses of her generation — if not the most. She earned 10 Oscar nominations throughout her career (not counting one unofficial write-in nomination), including two wins for 1935's Dangerous and 1938's Jezebel, the latter of which was her first collaboration with legendary filmmaker William Wyler, who also directed her in The Letter andThe Little Foxes. But perhaps her most iconic role was as aging Broadway star Margo Channing in 1950's Best Picture winner, All About Eve. (Davis also notoriously earned an Oscar nomination for Baby Jane while her co-star Crawford did not.)
3. Alfred Molina as Robert Aldrich
Moviegoers may most readily recognize Molina as the villainous Doctor Octopus from 2004's Spider-Man 2, but his many other film roles include the likes of Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Chocolat, Frida, An Education, and the HBO movie The Normal Heart, for which he earned an Emmy nomination. He's also a three-time Tony nominee for the 1998 play Art, the 2004 revival of Fiddler On The Roof, and the 2010 production of Red, in which he co-starred alongside future Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne.
Despite the fact that he was never personally nominated for an Oscar, director Robert Aldrich helmed many popular genre films throughout the '50s, '60s, and '70s that together earned a slew of nominations as well as a permanent place in cinema history — including Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, The Flight Of The Phoenix, The Dirty Dozen, The Longest Yard, and, of course, What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?
4. Stanley Tucci as Jack L. Warner
Tucci's film roles include The Devil Wears Prada, Julie & Julia, Easy A, The Hunger Games, Spotlight, the upcoming Beauty And The Beast, and a villainous turn as a murderer in The Lovely Bones, which earned him an Oscar nomination. He also has three Emmy Awards and two Golden Globes for his performances in the likes of the TV movie Winchell and a guest spot on Monk. He was nominated for a Tony for the 2002 production of Frankie And Johnny In The Clair de Lune, in which he starred alongside The Sopranos' Edie Falco.
Along with his brother Sam, Jack Warner was one of the two siblings who lent their names to Warner Bros. Studios — still one of the biggest movie studios in Hollywood to this day. Under his tenure the studio produced many an all-time classic such as Casablanca, Arsenic And Old Lace, Mildred Pierce, Of Human Bondage, The Big Sleep, Possessed, The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, A Star Is Born, My Fair Lady, and Camelot.
5. Judy Davis as Hedda Hopper
Davis is a two-time Oscar nominee for her roles in David Lean's A Passage To India and Woody Allen's Husbands And Wives. You may also have seen her in films like Barton Fink, The Break-Up, Marie Antoinette, and The Dressmaker, or in ABC's 2001 made-for-TV movie Life With Judy Garland: Me And My Shadows, which earned her one of her two Golden Globes and one of her three Emmys.
Hedda Hopper was the most famous gossip columnist of her time, famous for popularizing the trend known as the "blind item" — think of her as the Perez Hilton of the 20th century. She has been portrayed onscreen many times over the years, including most recently by Helen Mirren in Trumbo and by Tilda Swinton in a fictionalized version of the reporter in Hail, Caesar! Despite being most famous for her take-down pieces of famous celebrities, Hopper also acted in over 100 films herself, appearing in minor or supporting roles in the likes of Wings, The Women, and Sunset Boulevard.
6. Catherine Zeta-Jones as Olivia de Havilland
Zeta-Jones won an Oscar for her fiery performance as the starlet-turned-felon Velma Kelly in 2002's Best Picture-winning Chicago. Her many other film credits include The Mask Of Zorro, Entrapment, High Fidelity, Traffic, Intolerable Cruelty, The Terminal, Ocean's Twelve, and Rock Of Ages.
Olivia de Havilland earned five Oscar nominations, starting with a nod for one of her performance as Melanie Hamilton in 1939's Gone With The Wind, and including two wins for 1946's To Each His Own and 1949's The Heiress. Her other famous roles include the likes of A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Adventures Of Robin Hood, My Cousin Rachel, Light In The Piazza, and Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte. She was also the older sister of fellow Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine (Suspicion).
7. Dominic Burgess as Victor Buono
Burgess appeared in a small role in Batman Begins, and has also guest starred on the likes of Doctor Who, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, The Leftovers, 2 Broke Girls, and The Magicians.
Besides Davis, Buono earned the only other acting nomination for Baby Jane for his performance as a pianist recruited into Jane's insane plane to regain her childhood stardom. His other film roles include Judgment At Nuremberg, Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, and Beneath The Planet Of The Apes. He was also prolific on the small screen, appearing in episodes of Perry Mason, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Batman, Hawaii Five-0, and The Odd Couple.
8. Alison Wright as Pauline Jameson
Wright is hot off her heart-breaking turn as the lovelorn government agent-turned-Russian spy Martha on FX's The Americans. Her other TV roles include Amazon's Sneaky Pete and the HBO movie Confirmation, while she has appeared on the big screen in The Nanny Diaries and The Accountant.
Jameson worked as Aldrich's assistant during production of Baby Jane, but she was also an actress in her own right, appearing in a number of films including the 1964 Agatha Christie adaptation Murder Most Foul.
9. Jackie Hoffman as Mamacita
Hoffman made her start as a member of Chicago's famed Second City improv troupe before transitioning to film and television, where you may recognize her from films like Kissing Jessica Stein, Garden State, and Birdman, or from one of her many guest starring roles on TV shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, Inside Amy Schumer, The Good Wife, Girls, Difficult People, and Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life. (She also played the role of Prudy Pingleton in the original Broadway production of Hairspray.)
Mamacita was Joan Crawford's housekeeper at the time of production on Baby Jane and, despite her misleading name, she was actually German, not Spanish.
10. Kiernan Shipka as B.D. Hyman
Now 17, Shipka made a name for herself when she was cast as Don Draper's daughter Sally on AMC's Mad Men. Since then, she has honed her chops on shows like Don't Trust The B— In Apartment 23, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and the Lifetime movie Flowers In The Attic, and will next be seen in the upcoming indie horror movie The Blackcoat's Daughter alongside former American Horror Story star Emma Roberts.
Hyman was the daughter of Bette Davis and artist William Grant Sherry, whose small role as a next door neighbor in Baby Jane is one of only two film credits to her name. Like Christina Crawford, Hyman also published a memoir that was very critical of her famous mother, 1985's My Mother's Keeper. At 69, she's still alive today, and serving as a born-again Christian minister in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Aside from these 10 juicy roles, Feud will also feature guest appearances by AHS veterans Sarah Paulson and Kathy Bates as movie stars Geraldine Page and Joan Blondell, respectively. See them all in action when Bette And Joan premieres this Sunday at 10:00 p.m. ET on FX.
Images: Kurt Iswarienko/FX (10); Warner Bros. Pictures (3); Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Hulton Archive/Archive Photos/Getty Images; CBS Photo Archive/CBS/Getty Images; MGM (2)