FX has a legal feud on its hands following its series about Bette Davis and Joan Crawford — and it doesn’t come from heirs of either of the titular characters. Olivia de Havilland is suing the network and Ryan Murphy Productions over her portrayal by Catherine Zeta-Jones in Feud: Bette and Joan.
In a complaint filed Friday in L.A. County Superior Court, de Havilland claims she has built a reputation for integrity and dignity by refraining from gossip and other unkind, ill-mannered behavior — but the series opens with Zeta-Jones doing an interview as de Havilland and creates the impression that she was a hypocrite who sold gossip to promote herself.
“[A]ll statements made by Zeta-Jones as Olivia de Havilland in this fake interview are completely false, some inherently so; others false because they were never said,” writes attorney Suzelle Smith. “FX defendants did not engage in protected First Amendment speech in putting false words into the mouth of Olivia de Havilland in a fake interview that did not occur and would not have occurred.”
The star says Feud was designed to look like reality, but no one consulted her: the only person alive who experienced the events depicted.
She also takes issue with Feud‘s references to her relationship with her sister.
“Zeta-Jones’ de Havilland refers to Joan Fontaine as her ‘bitch sister,’ an offensive term that stands in stark contrast with Olivia de Havilland’s reputation for good manners, class and kindness,” writes Smith.
The actress says defendants knew or recklessly disregarded publicly available information that she is alive, she never gave an interview about the relationship between Davis and Crawford, and that she maintains a reputation for avoiding gossip mongering.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: FX; AP
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