Sam Shepard

Through 'Feud,' Jessica Lange tapped into a universal need — to stay valued

Through 'Feud,' Jessica Lange tapped into a universal need — to stay valued

Before Jessica Lange played Joan Crawford in Ryan Murphy’s critically acclaimed FX limited series “Feud: Bette and Joan,” she knew as much about the MGM star as you did, and it all came from “Mommie Dearest,” the 1981 Crawford takedown by her daughter Christina. But once Lange pulled back the curtain on the stunning silver screen sensation of the 1940s and ‘50s, what she found was much more than wire hangers and abusive tantrums. To Lange, Crawford was a woman of great complexity, a creation and a victim of Hollywood’s brutal studio system that disregarded aging actresses with heartless regularity.

“It surprised me the depths of this character,” said Lange, reached by phone at her...

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