Olivia de Havilland’s lawsuit against FX over Feud continues to move forward as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge said today the network will not be able to strike her complaint. FX was looking to get the Oscar-winning actress’ case tossed under anti-SLAPP and First Amendment grounds.
The case has been fast-tracked based on de Havilland’s “unusually advanced age,” to quote the paperwork from her lawyers — she’s 101. An approximately five- to seven-day trial is set to start in November.
De Havilland’s suit, filed in late June, claims the portrayal of the two-time Oscar-winning actor by Catherine Zeta-Jones in Ryan Murphy’s FX anthology series damaged her “professional reputation for integrity, honesty, generosity, self-sacrifice, and dignity.”
On Friday, the defendants were looking to strike down the suit under California’s SLAPP law, which was denied. Judge Holly Kendig said that after extensively reviewing the defendant’s motions to strike, that the plaintiff sufficiently met her burden on all motions.
In her jury-seeking complaint, de Havilland asserts that FX, Murphy and producer 20th Century Fox TV never sought nor obtained her permission to depict her or use her name in the eight-episode anthology series. Among other issues, the lawsuit specifically targets the depiction of the alleged backstage drama at the 1963 Oscars ceremony detailed in Feud‘s fifth episode, “And the Winner Is.”
During today’s hearing, Kendig thoroughly went through all of the aforementioned motions that included de Havilland’s portrayal as a “vulgar gossip”; her use of the word “bitch” and “dragon lady” on the show to describe her sister, Joan Fontaine; as well as her words about Frank Sinatra’s drinking habits. De Havilland and her lawyers Don Howarth, Suzelle Smith and Zoe Tremaye of L.A.’s Howarth & Smith say none of it is factually accurate.
Feud had 18 Emmy nominations this year, but was shut out at the Primetime Emmys. The next installment of the anthology series, focusing on Prince Charles and Lady Diana, has been ordered and will air sometime next year.