'Feud' Premiere: Sexism, Ageism Talked About on Red Carpet

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From left: Jessica Lange, Ryan Murphy and Susan Sarandon

"I think there is still ageism and sexism, but I don't know if we care as much," star Susan Sarandon said at the Ryan Murphy series premiere.

Ryan Murphy, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange, Catherine Zeta-Jones and the rest of the crew of FX's new series stepped onto the red carpet for the premiere on Wednesday night at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

Created by Ryan Murphy, Feud: Betty and Joan focuses on the infamous rivalry between Joan Crawford (Lange) and Bette Davis (Sarandon) during and after filming their 1962 movie, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

"My favorite thing about television is that you can go to different times and kind of live in them," Tim Minear, co-writer and director of Feud: Betty and Joan, told The Hollywood Reporter. "This was a time I wanted to visit, and I got to do it."

"This story is just fascinating that it actually happened — the fact that these women were pitted against each other," Zeta-Jones, who plays Olivia de Havilland, said on the red carpet. "Everyone wanted them to hate each other, the studio heads and the gossip columnists. It was a sad time for them."

The series focuses on themes of ageism, sexism, and misogyny in the 1960s — how older women in Hollywood were mistreated — which opens the conversation about present day.

"I think there is still ageism and sexism, but I don't know if we care as much. We just keep moving forward regardless of the ageism and sexism," Sarandon told THR. "If you look at quality of work and not quantity, I think women have found a way to do some really fabulous work."

"You still read about it today — women that are fighting for equal pay to their male costars," Dominic Burgess, who plays Victor Buono, said. "With equality behind the camera, Ryan was very cognizant in making sure we had female directors on board."

To address the sexism within the industry, Murphy partnered with 20th Century Fox to start the Half Foundation, which promotes equality by having 50 percent of all director slots on his shows filled by women, people of color and members of the LGBT community. Feud does exactly that.

"Just look at Ryan. He started his Half Foundation and started hiring woman directors, fantastic women directors, who we have never used before," Minear told THR. "Hollywood only changes if you force it to, just like any institution. It starts with the people who actually have enough power to make a change, and Ryan is one of those people."

The eight-episode anthology will premiere on March 5.

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