Ryan Murphy’s ‘Feud’ Enlists Catherine Zeta-Jones to Play Olivia de Havilland

Ryan Murphy’s Feud, if you haven’t heard about it, sounds like the most Ryan Murphy-ish thing imaginable (like, more Murphy-ish than any Murphy-ish thing you’ve saw in the total Murphfest, AHS: Hotel). American Horror Story has always felt like a series of hilarious feuds between campily over-the-top characters performing femininity in a heightened, Hollywood fashion reflective of gay culture-appreciated cult classics like What Ever Happened and Mommy Dearest. The gore and “horror” has often just felt like decoration atop all of that. And now with his anthology series, Feud, Murphy is beginning with a season about the stars of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane (and one of the subjects of Mommy Dearest): Joan Crawford (who’ll be played by Jessica Lange, of course) and her celebrity nemesis Bette Davis (who’ll be played by Susan Sarandon).

And now there’s another classically iconic actress being added to the story: today, as Deadline noted, Murphy announced on Twitter that Olivia de Havilland will be part of his story, and that she’ll be played by Catherine Zeta Jones. (Other previously announced cast-members include Alfred Molina as Baby Jane director Robert Aldrich, Stanley Tucci as Jack Warner, Judy Davis as a gossip columnist and Dominic Burgess as Baby Jane co-star Victor Buono.)

Havilland (apart from being a two-time Academy Award winner) was a friend of Davis’, who appeared with her in the Aldrich film Hush…Hush Sweet Charlotte — and filled the role of Miriam Deering. The role was originally going to be played by Joan Crawford, who quit the movie after a few days of filming, purporting to be ill.

The series will air on FX, and is being made by Fox 21 TV studios and Brad Pitt’s Plan B, with Pitt and Murphy both serving as executive producers.