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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