She will portray actress Olivia de Havilland in the season that centers around the legendary backstage battle between two of the greatest movie stars of all time, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, played by Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange.
Murphy made the casting announcement Tuesday on his Twitter account.
“Feud” marks Zeta-Jones’ most high-profile project in quite some time. Best known for her film work, the award-winning actress became one of Hollywood’s most prominent stars in the late ’90s through the ’00s with movies including “The Mask of Zorro,” “Entrapment,” “Traffic” and “Chicago,” for which she won an Oscar, SAG Award and BAFTA Award. “Feud” does not mark her first role on television, but Zeta-Jones has not appeared in a major TV role since the early ’90s in the British dramedy “The Darling Buds of May.”
Havilland is still alive at 100 years old. One of the last living actresses of the Golden Age of Hollywood, she is best known for playing Melanie in “Gone with the Wind.”
Havilland starred alongside her good friend Davis in many films including “It’s Love I’m After” in 1937, “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex” in 1939 and “In This Our Life” in 1942. In the 1964 thriller “Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte,” Havilland replaced Crawford who quit the project, claiming she was ill — a subject that’s sure to be explored on “Feud.”
“Feud” is Murphy’s third anthology series with FX, following “American Horror Story” and “American Crime Story.” Each installment of “Feud” will focus on a different epic battle. The first season will tell the story between Crawford (Lange) and Davis (Sarandon) and how they came together in 1962 to collaborate on “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” which received five Academy Award nominations and became a cult classic, but not without the horror of the two women working together.
The cast is rounded out by Alfred Molina, who will play the film’s director Robert Aldrich; Stanley Tucci, who will play studio titan Jack Warner; Judy Davis as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper; and Dominic Burgess as Crawford and Davis’ co-star Victor Buono.
Hailing from Fox 21 Television Studios, Brad Pitt is an executive producer, along with Dede Gardner and Murphy who will direct several episodes. Sarandon and Lange are attached as producers.
Zeta-Jones is repped by WME.