Susan Sarandon: From ‘Feud’ with Jessica Lange to ‘Ray Donovan’ opposite Liev Schreiber

Susan Sarandon sure is keeping busy. She just wrapped production on “Feud,” the FX limited series from Ryan Murphy in which she portrays Bette Davis opposite Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford. Now comes word that she is to feature in a season-long arc on Showtime’s crime drama series “Ray Donovan.” The Oscar champ (“Dead Man Walking”) is to play the tough talking head of a movie studio who gets entangled with the title character, a Hollywood fixed played by Liev Schreiber.

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Sarandon, who is a strong Emmy contender for her work in “Feud: Bette and Joan,” has reaped four Emmy nominations over the years, including two for guesting on the comedies “Friends” and “Malcolm in the Middle,” but has yet to win. Because she will be in every episode of “Ray Donovan,” the actress will have to contend in one of the drama series regular categories. Whether that ends up being lead or supporting will depend on the size of her role.

Currently, Sarandon is sizzling up the screen as Davis who does battle with Crawford during the making of their one movie together, “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?.” This black-and-white horrorfest was an unexpected hit for these two past Oscar champs in 1962. Caught up in the catfight were the movie’s director, Robert Aldrich (Alfred Molina) and studio exec Jack Warner (Stanley Tucci).

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While the idea to co-star was Crawford’s, it was Davis who reaped the lion’s share of attention. Indeed, she earned a Best Actress bid and was determined to be the first three-time champ. But Crawford, who was smarting over her snub by the academy, worked behind-the-scenes to stop Davis from winning, even enlisting the help of her pal, gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Judy Davis). She arranged to accept the award on behalf of the eventual winner, Anne Bancroft (“The Miracle Worker”), who was appearing on Broadway.

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