One of Hollywood’s biggest stars during the 1930s and ’40s, Olivia de Havilland is now 102 years old — and she’s going to court!
Not just any court but the Supreme Court, with the “Gone With the Wind” star refusing to back down after her defamation suit over her portrayal in the FX series “Feud” was shot down by a judge.
In June 2017, de Havilland sued FX and series creator Ryan Murphy over the way she was depicted in FX’s “Feud: Bette & Joan” (in which she was portrayed by Catherine Zeta-Jones), with her defamation suit alleging she was maligned by the show’s depiction.
The judge who heard the case threw the lawsuit out of court. “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,” Justice Anne Egerton wrote in the ruling, “nor does she or he have the legal right to control, dictate, approve, disapprove, or veto the creator’s portrayal of actual people.”
At the time, “Feud” exec producer Ryan Murphy issued a statement declaring the decision was “a victory for the creative community, and the First Amendment,” noting that the ruling “gives all creators the breathing room necessary to continue to tell important historical stories inspired by true events. Most of all, it’s a great day for artistic expression and a reminder of how precious our freedom remains.”
However, de Havilland was clearly not satisfied with the outcome and is hoping the Supreme Court will weigh in on the case, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
It’s not a given that the Supremes will move forward; if the Supreme Court does decide to hear the case and de Havilland prevails, notes THR, this could have a chilling effect on fact-based docudramas.
According to THR, de Havilland’s lawyer says a petition for a writ will be filed in September.