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Fox Vows to ‘Vigorously Defend’ Olivia de Havilland ‘Feud’ Lawsuit

The producer of “Feud: Bette and Joan” has fired back at Olivia de Havilland, vowing to “vigorously defend” the series against the lawsuit filed last month by the screen legend.

On Tuesday, de Havilland asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to speed up the trial schedule for her suit, given her age. The 101-year-old Oscar winner maintains the FX miniseries from Ryan Murphy Productions about the longstanding rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford damaged her reputation through Catherine Zeta-Jones’ portrayal of her. De Havilland’s complaint maintains she was not consulted for the production, which has grabbed 18 Emmy nominations.

On Wednesday, “Feud” producer Fox 21 Television Studios issued a statement defending the limited series and asserting it had every legal right to depict de Havilland as producers saw fit.

“Our project was a meticulously researched dramatization of the well-documented feud between actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford,” the statement said. “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.”

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