Olivia de Havilland Could Take FX’s ‘Feud’ to Court Before the Emmys
High-profile adaptations are no stranger to subjects disputing their portrayal, but it’s a special case when the legendary Olivia de Havilland takes FX’s Feud to task, as the last-living star depicted. The 101-year old actress may even get her wish for an expedited trial, though Fox is hitting back.
Per Deadline, de Havilland filed with Los Angeles Superior Court to approve fast-tracking the trial on September 13, owing to her advanced age. If granted, that would place arguments before a judge four days before the September 17 Emmy awards, in which leads Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon are both nominated for Best Actress in a Limited Series, and creator Ryan Murphy competes for directing and writing.
It was back in April that de Havilland bluntly offered of the series “having not seen the show, I cannot make a valid comment about it,” something Murphy himself was amused by. The actress then filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against FX and Ryan Murphy Productions, “based on the unauthorized commercial use of Dame Olivia’s name and identity in the FX hit series.”
Understandably, de Havilland’s representation made clear the need for an expedited trial, though the current motion finally elicited a response from Fox 21 Television:
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.
Whatever choice is made in September, that’s bound to make for one awkward Emmy red carpet interview. Season 2 of FX’s Feud is already booked to follow Prince Charles and Princess Diana, so stay tuned for updates.