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Feud in the Media

I will hope that Hoffman's reaction was intended to be funny.  Not the kind of humor that I understand.  But I'm old enough to have enjoyed Laugh In when it was live and Hoffman's imitation of Ruth Buzzey's  Gladys Ormphby may not have been intentional, but for me, the recognition was immediate from her first appearance. There aren't images of her just standing, holding her purse in front of her with both hands, but that was Gladys.  At least she changed the hair, for the better.

Ruth+Buzzi+Poster+copy.jpg

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On ‎9‎/‎18‎/‎2017 at 6:21 PM, Avaleigh said:

Too bad Lange didn't win an Emmy for this. I thought she was wonderful.

She impressed me a lot, too.  I would have chosen her over Kidman.

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The lawsuit continues

I have to admit I still don't understand the point of this lawsuit. I thought OdH came off the best of anyone in the series, and not even in a grading-on-a-curve sense (i.e. the least horrible of a horrible bunch). Nobody would hold her calling her sister a bitch against her (and I'm not sure anyone would believe that she never did that privately, considering all that went on between them), especially given the context the show included that her sister was badmouthing her to the press, and while she seems upset about the "gossipy" interview that never took place, I don't recall on the TV show CZJ saying anything over the line. Nothing that Bette or even Joan would find embarrassing, nothing that couldn't be included in a puff piece. I realize to OdH saying anything at all publicly might seem over the line, but still.

It's just the cognitive dissonance of the one who got a portrayal of being a classy grande dame loyal to her friend being the one to sue. Everyone else got off worse. I suppose the rest all are dead now (although BD is still preaching up a crazy storm), but still. It makes me wonder about the real story behind her own feud with her sister, if she takes this kind of offense to her portrayal.

I thought Kidman was good in Big Little Lies, but I really would have chosen any of the other nominees over her. Particularly Lange, as mentioned above, and Reese Witherspoon, who I thought had the more difficult role on BLL as she had to make a character who's easily dislikable likable. But so often the TV awards are decided based on who's the biggest film star who's deigned to appear on TV, and that's Kidman. I do wonder when the TV award voters are going to get over this complex given that it's almost universally acknowledged that nowadays the prestige projects are on TV, not film.

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The LA Times had a blurb this week that said ODH's lawsuit would begin in court the twentysomethingth of November this year.    She asked for it to be fast tracked because of her age (and they listened). 

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Golden Globe nominations:

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Jessica Lange
Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Susan Sarandon
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Alfred Molina

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SAG award nominations:

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series - Jessica Lange
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series - Susan Sarandon

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The Olivia DeHavilland lawsuit against Ryan Murphy continues.  

Some support for Olivia's side here

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/sag-aftra-sides-olivia-de-havilland-fx-feud-1079008

On the side of FX, with a heavy introduction of cynicism

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Proving that if you pay your dues literally, your pals will show up to have your back, the Motion Picture Association of America and Netflix today warned of “the chilling fear of litigation” as they filed court documents supporting FX and Ryan Murphy in their legal battle with Olivia De Havilland over the Oscar winning icon’s depiction in the Feud: Bette and Joan.

from https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/sag-aftra-sides-olivia-de-havilland-fx-feud-1079008

and also with maybe the best explanatory paragraph of all for the FX side

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The union, to one extent, agrees with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed a brief in support of FX and Murphy and argued the transformative use test raised by defendants may not be an appropriate metric here. 

"Docudramas, generally, are not likely to satisfy the transformative use test, and Feud certainly does not," writes Crabtree-Ireland. "The point of a docudrama is not to transform the individual -- it is to depict them as themselves.... And no matter how talented an actress is, or how much she imbues a role with her own performance, an actor’s depiction of a living individual is not sufficient to transform the individual into something new for purposes of the transformative use test."

It's not unusual for the MPAA and SAG-AFTRA to face off over publicity rights, but this particular case poses an interesting conflict. If the decision stands and the MPAA's fear that creators will be hesitant to produce docudramas for fear of litigation becomes reality, it could potentially mean less work for actors.

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Here's one report on the De Havilland lawsuit - oral arguments :

http://deadline.com/2018/03/olivia-de-havilland-feud-appeals-court-hearing-arguments-1202350152/

Part of the article is quoted below.

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Olivia De Havilland’s Lawyers Make Her Case In ‘Feud’ Appeals Hearing

by DavidRobb
March 20, 2018 6:09pm

Oral arguments were heard today before the California Court of Appeal in the ongoing feud between Olivia de Havilland and the producers of the FX series Feud: Bette and Joan, whom she accuses of presenting her in a “false, hurtful and damaging light.” If the questions asked by the three-judge panel today were any indication, however, the case may not stand much chance of proceeding to trial. The case, heard today at USC, pits de Havilland’s right of publicity – her right to control the commercial use of her identity – versus the producers’ First Amendment right to tell a fictionalized story about real people. At issue is just how fictionalized a portrayal can be before it crosses the line into defamation. The case has far-reaching First Amendment implications. But first de Havilland must get the green light from the judges to proceed to trial.

“If this case can’t go forward,” argued her attorney Suzelle Smith, “you won’t have a celebrity who can’t control their identity.” This case, she told the judges, is “not one of censorship,” but of holding filmmakers to the honest and factual depiction of the people and events they portray. “How is that not censorship, if the person who is being depicted gets to make the call?” Judge Lee Smalley Edmon asked. It was the question at the heart of the case, and one that Smith struggled to answer. The legendary 101-year-old actress claims Feud damaged her reputation by portraying her as a mean-spirited gossip who referred to Joan Fontaine as her “bitch sister,” and Frank Sinatra as a drunk who “must have drunk all the alcohol in the backstage lounge” during the 1963 Academy Awards he hosted.

“That kind of vulgarity is not language that I use,” the de Havilland said in a deposition last summer. Both sides have stipulated that de Havilland had once called her sister a “dragon lady,” but Smith argued she never called her a “bitch.” Juggle Halim Dhacdina seemed to view that as a distinction without much of a difference. “Is there something substantially different between calling someone a bitch and a dragon lady?” he asked Smith. “Bitch is a vulgarity,” she answered. “In my household, if you say bitch, you get your mouth washed out.”
***
FX attempted to have the suit dismissed under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which allows judges to throw out lawsuits that might chill free speech. In September, however, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge allowed the case to proceed on grounds that de Havilland’s attorneys had demonstrated that they could very well win the case if it went to trial. The MPAA and Netflix then entered the fray, arguing in a friend of the court brief that the trial court’s ruling could set a dangerous precedent that would jeopardize any film or TV show that seeks to dramatize real people or events. “If creators of expressive works that dramatize stories about real people can face actionable right of publicity claims unless they obtain the consent of everyone relevant to the story,” they argued, “fictionalized stories about real people will be stifled by censorship attempts launched by our most popular, powerful, and controversial celebrities and politicians—and limited to depicting only their (likely highly sanitized) – version of events.”

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The case has been dismissed:

http://deadline.com/2018/03/feud-lawsuit-thrown-out-olivia-de-havilland-fx-networks-1202353690/

 

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“Books, films, plays, and television shows often portray real people. Some are famous and some are just ordinary folks. Whether a person portrayed in one of these expressive works is a world-renowned film star — ‘a living legend’ — or a person no one knows, she or he does not own history.  Nor does she or he have the legal right to control, dictate, approve, disapprove, or veto the creator’s portrayal of actual people,” the appeal court wrote in a unanimous decision.

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