It can sometimes be hard to follow a Ryan Murphy show. Even before they’re in production.
Today brings two potentially conflicting news items about Feud season 3. Variety reports that the subject matter has already been decided. Yet, Vanity Fair, who spoke directly to Murphy himself at a screening of the season 1 finale, reports that he still hasn’t quite decided, but he has an idea.
Though the anthology series was originally pitched as a catalog of female-on-female rivalries throughout the ages, Murphy soon flipped script when he announced season 2 would chronicle Prince Charles and Princess Diana. For season 3, he now says that he might focus on a rivalry between men.
All he tells VF is that Mark Ruffalo might be involved, and at least one of the main characters might be gay.
“I have one good idea, but I have to get the right actors,” he said. “It’s something Mark Ruffalo and I had talked about hearing. He’s a buddy of mine from The Normal Heart, so we talked about something, but I don’t know yet. I haven’t locked into it.”
So what could season 3 actually be about? Here, three guesses:
Karl Lagerfeld v. Yves Saint Laurent
“He is very middle-of-the-road French-very pied-noir, very provincial.” —Lagerfeld on Saint Laurent.
Two of the most important fashion designers of the later half of the 20th century were also its biggest frenemies. Both Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent started their careers by winning separate categories during the same year of the International Wool Secretariat competition. They would then take very different paths to the top of fashion, but traveled in the same circles (and—here’s the juicier scoop—once had an interest in the same man). Of course, tackling the subject matter might incur the wrath of two still very powerful fashion houses, and threading the needle of authenticity while still not turning off mainstream American viewers with these two men’s very European accents may be difficult. Though, Ruffalo doesn’t look too dissimilar from a young Lagerfeld.
Gore Vidal v. William F. Buckley
“Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in your goddam face, and you’ll stay plastered.” —Buckley to Vidal.
Cable news is dominated by pundit bickering, and America is obsessed with both the onscreen blowups and the behind-the-scenes gossip. While some might imagine this is evidence of our modern decline, you can trace our thirst for televised political sparring at least back to a series of televised debates between public intellectuals William F. Buckley, who lays claim to being one the forefathers of the Conservative moment, and Gore Vidal, the openly queer leftist writer. The most heated of which ended with the infamous “Now listen, you queer…” remark above. Though, the pair hated each other long before the debates, and would continue to hate each other for decades to come (there was more than one lawsuit involved). The famous feud certainly could fill out a series of television, if not more, and given our highly divided times might be especially relevant.
George Cukor vs Cecil Beaton
“Keep him off my stage!” —Cukor on Beaton.
Feud Season 1 chronicles the behind-the-scenes tension of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Perhaps Season 3 could crack the onset drama of another Hollywood classic: My Fair Lady. The two participants may not be household names anymore, but the feud does center on an icon: Audrey Hepburn.
Legendary photographer and costume designer Cecil Beaton had won raves for his work on the original broadway staging of My Fair Lady, and was brought onto the film to work with his friend Audrey Hepburn. (This was in spite of the fact that he didn’t have a very high reputation of film. He called Hollywood’s aesthetic “the Himalayan mountains of bad taste.”) George Cukor, one of Hollywood’s top directors, was brought onto the project after the Hepburn and Beaton were already installed, and often clashed with Beaton over the look of the film and the loyalties of its star. Another point of contention was Beaton holding up the proceedings so he could take photos of Hepburn in costume. As the story goes, Hepburn couldn’t help but egg him on, and almost always sided with him over Cukor. Beaton vowed never to work in Hollywood again, but would bash Cukor and of course take credit for the success of the film afterwards.
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Hollywood’s Juiciest On-Set Feuds, from Dustin Hoffman vs. Meryl Streep to Sarah Jessica Parker vs. Kim Cattrall
Dustin Hoffman reportedly took up method acting just in time for Kramer vs. Kramer, Robert Benton’s 1979 film that saw Hoffman star opposite Meryl Streep. That meant, when it came time for the pair to fight, he actually punched Streep while filming—and took it upon himself to get her appropriately riled up for her performance by teasing her about her boyfriend’s lung cancer diagnosis and later death.
The Icelandic enigma that is Björk made it more than clear than she could act by stealing the show—even from Catherine Deneuve—with her performance as a struggling factory worker saving up for her son’s eye operation in Lars Von Trier’s 2000, Palme d’Or-winning film, Dancer in the Dark. Still, even though she took home the Best Actress award from the Cannes Film Festival, Björk hasn’t acted since: her experience on-set with von Trier was so fraught that she vowed to never make another movie—even though it was actually Björk, according to the director, who missed their first meeting because she had to jet off to a Greek island and took up greeting him by spitting on the ground.
Though Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu all seemed to get along just fine on the set of 2000’s Charlie’s Angels, Bill Murray took it upon himself to liven things up mid-scene by reportedly turning to Liu and telling the actress she couldn’t act. Liu, for her part, stayed in character by throwing Murray a punch—and came out on top by landing a role in the sequel, which Murray definitely did not.
Not many would characterize Bruce Willis as an “emo b—h,” but that’s exactly how the director Kevin Smith described Willis after working with the actor on his 2010 buddy cop film Cop Out, which also starred Tracy Morgan. The experience, according to Smith, was both “soul-crushing” and “terrifying,” thanks to Willis’s intimidating demeanor and diva-like preference for the real movie-star treatment.
Decades before Faye Dunaway added a heavy dose of drama to this year’s Academy Awards, the actress starred in Chinatown and reportedly got so heated with Roman Polanski, who allegedly pulled a hair out of her head that was getting in the way of his shot, that she threw a cup of urine at him when he wouldn’t let her pause to pee.
George Clooney and David O. Russell apparently got so heated shooting Russell’s 1999 film Three Kings that the pair got into a physical fight. Russell, apparently, was not taking well to a cutback in the film’s budget, and in the final days of shooting, threw an extra—and, later, Clooney—to the ground in a supposed demonstration. Four years later, in 2003, Russell was still holding a grudge: for a comment on the actor for a Vanity Fair profile, the director offered up, “George Clooney can suck my dick.”
Jake Gyllenhaal’s role as a political cartoonist plagued by letters from a serial killer in David Fincher’s 2007 film Zodiac required quite a bit of vetting: Fincher initially met up with Gyllenhaal, whom he’d taken a liking to from Donnie Darko, and recorded his mannerisms before offering the actor the part. Once cast, though, filming was still hardly a breeze for Gyllenhaal: he’d repeatedly act out scenes for Fincher, only to hear the director call for the last 10 takes to be deleted immediately and everything to start again—an offense Gyllenhaal unabashedly recounted to the New York Times.
In 1991, Julia Roberts reportedly landed herself the nickname “Tinkerhell” thanks to her role as Tinkerbell in Steven Spielberg’s Hook, a live-action version of Peter Pan. “It was an unfortunate time for us to work together,” Spielberg later said of the experience on 60 Minutes. (Roberts had just broken off her engagement with Kiefer Sutherland a few days before.)
“Once and for all, what’s my opinion on Jamie Foxx?/He pussy/Pussy ain’t funny as Chris Rock,” a line in LL Cool J’s 2000 song “U Can’t F–k With Me,” is just as explicit of a call-out as it sounds. The pair took their fight scene in Oliver Stone’s 1999 football film Any Given Sunday a little too literally, getting so physical that the crew eventually called the police.
George Clooney is hardly the only actor with whom David O. Russell’s lost his cool. Before the director made Amy Adams cry on the set of American Hustle, but three years after his 2004 film I Heart Huckabees already came out, footage emerged of Russell calling Lily Tomlin, one of its stars, a “b—h” and a “c–t” and sending things flying behind the scenes. Tomlin later acknowledged the director was under pressure, while Russell made sure to tell the New York Times that the pair “love each other” in 2013.
Though they were the best of friends on Golden Girls, Betty White and Bea Arthur didn’t exactly vibe off-screen. Arthur reportedly called White a “c–t” when she was receiving a lifetime achievement award, and wasn’t too pleased that White was the first of the show’s four actresses to win an Emmy (an award they’d all eventually end up with).
It took a dozen years, but Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall’s reported difficulties with each other when filming Sex and the City hit a peak when the pair was filming the series’s film sequels, which only magnified their dispute over unequal salaries. Not that they’ve brought any of it out into the open: Parker, for one, has made public peace offerings in the way of well-wishing Instagrams.