Monday, 25 September, 2017

Olivia De Havilland Sues "Feud: Bette And Joan" For Unauthorized Depiction

NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
Elaine Woods | 03 July, 2017, 01:57

Veteran actress Olivia de Havilland is not pleased with how she was portrayed in Ryan Murphy's FX series, "Feud: Bette and Joan".

"FX defendants misappropriated Olivia de Havilland's name, likeness and identity without her permission and used them falsely in order to exploit their own commercial interests", the complaint states.

The show starred Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon as Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, depicting their rivalry during and after the production of the iconic 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Catherine Zeta-Jones, who played de Havilland in "Feud", said she wanted to take on the role after hearing stories about the star.

De Havilland's attorney, Suzelle Smith, wrote in the filing that all of the statements made by Zeta-Jones as de Havilland in the series are all false.

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Though the show is meant to dramatize actual historical events, de Havilland said she was never consulted or asked for permission to use her identity, despite the fact that she claims she is the only survivor of the events the series depicts. "Then, unfortunately, there was the frightful tragedy that happened there in Nice, so I didn't get the chance to", Zeta-Jones said in January. But she also expressed her dislike for shows that feature any representation of other persons, especially those who have already passed on.

In March, Murphy spoke with THR to say that he and his team did not have the chance to talk to de Havilland about "Feud: Bette and Joan".

July 1 marks the 101st birthday of actress Olivia de Havilland.

De Havilland's lawyers said they intend to file a motion seeking an expedited trial date because of de Havilland's age. Her portrayal in the series was instead based Murphy's own research, including an interview he conducted with Davis shortly before her death in 1989.

Later in her career, de Havilland appeared in the 1964 drama "Hush..." De Havilland is no stranger to standing up for principles against the powerful Hollywood film industry, her attorneys said. California's seven-year rule - Labor Code Section 2855, also known as the de Havilland Law - was a major step in dismantling the Hollywood studio system and putting power into the hands of talent.

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