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Ryan Murphy, the producer behind Emmy-winning series “American Horror Story” and “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” has a new television series, “Feud: Bette and Joan,” which premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. on FX.
The eight-episode series gets into the juicy details of the notorious rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford (played by Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange, respectively) while shooting the 1962 hit horror film, “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”
And in doing so, the producers went to great lengths to make sure that the sets were as close to reality as possible.
Heading that huge task was production designer Judy Becker. A Hollywood veteran, Becker’s most recent credits include critically acclaimed films “Joy” and “Carol.”
“It’s an interesting period to design for sure,” Becker told reporters of her decision to take on the job during a recent visit to the “Feud” set in Los Angeles.
“It’s always fun,” she continued, “because we’re doing different worlds and different characters. So this is like a Hollywood world and kind of over-the-top characters, and I haven’t done that to this degree before. So, it was pretty appealing.”
Becker uses all the tools and tricks available to her in order to re-create 1960s Hollywood, from online searches to hiring researchers, perusing prop houses, examining footage, visiting the actual sites, and tapping private collectors.
Here’s an inside look at two Hollywood legends’ lives from the set of “Feud: Bette and Joan”:
Joan Crawford had very expensive, modern (for that time) Hollywood tastes.
“Joan lived in this very grand way, which was very fashionable in terms of design,” Becker said of Crawford’s home, which took two months to re-create. “She was really keeping up with the times.”
“She was fashionable, Hollywood fashionable,” she added.
Joan Crawford hired famed interior decorator William Haines to outfit her Brentwood-area, Los Angeles home in Hollywood splendor.
“Joan was very good friends with a well-known decorator of the time, William Haines, who started out as an actor and then became a pretty famous interior designer,” Becker said.
Williams Haines’ furniture would be “a fortune now” if you could find them.
Becker said that William Haines “designed all the furniture that’s in the living room, the kind of tufted furniture. We made those for the show, but they’re based on his designs, which cost a fortune now if you can find them.”