Bette & Joan – the divine competition

Sunday 18 March 2007

Who would have thought that the West End Whingers would be running an honest-to-god competition with a real prize? And in association with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford (kind of)?

But it’s true. You could win an original, signed (by the author, not the Whingers) US hardback copy of Shaun Considine’s delicious biography Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud complete with oodles of wonderful photographs thanks to the generosity of the author himself.

It was a timely offer from Mr Considine; Andrew had been on the verge of selling his shares in Siriami to bankroll his latest get-rich-quick scheme – a premium rate phone-in competition, an idea cruelly undermined by arch-villains Richard & Judy and Blue Peter.

Anyway, to the competition. As previously reported by the Whingers in their outstanding piece of investigative journalism (Phil is already clearing a space on his mantelpiece in preparation for 16th April), the Old Vic’s plans to stage Malcolm McKay’s play-of-the-book look pretty well scuppered.

However, a “motion picture” may yet be on the cards which would present some pretty interesting casting challenges. The Whingers had already earmarked Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith as ideal candidates, but that’s too easy, apparently.

Mr Considine writes:

If any of your readers come up with the perfect pair (beside Judi and Maggie, who would be sublime for stage version) I will gift them with an inscribed copy of the original U.S. hardcover book – which has 36 pages of dazzling black-and-white noir photos.

So, all you have to do is leave a reply to this post with your suggestions for who might play Bette Davis and Joan Crawford (you will be asked for your email address but don’t worry: this won’t appear on the page and we promise not to send you any information about how to buy viagra).

To get you in the mood, why not watch this wonderful old trailer for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

And to complete your Baby Jane-fest, check out Rob Cress’s DearOldHollywood item on the locations as they are today. It is only the absence of time, initiative, sobriety, ability to focus, the ability to drive, a decent camera and a Hollywood address that stops the Whingers from doing exactly this kind of thing.

Now leave your reply below, and good luck. The competition closes at noon on Friday 6th April 2007. The winner will be announced on Friday 13th of course.

21 Responses to “Bette & Joan – the divine competition”

  1. Michael Hollick Says:

    Susan Sontag’s dead, alas, but surely the ideal mix of highbrow/lowbrow, high camp/high intellect casting would be to pair the divinely feuding Germaine Greer and Camille Paglia.

    And the joy is, the casting could work both ways.

  2. Mark Says:

    Ideal: Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon (RIP)

    Both living: Julia Deakin and Jessica Stevenson.

  3. Harold Finley Says:

    I’d ideally like to see Ian McKellen and Kevin Spacey, as Bette and Joan. I really think you need drag to capture the pure essence of this feud, and Spacey is a very *words deleted for legal reasons*.

    But, if the studio totally refused to go down that road I’d go for Bette Midler and Madonna.

  4. How about Kathleen Turner in the Bette Davis role and Faye Dunaway (of course!!!) in the Joan Crawford role (especially now that they’re regularly spending more time on the stage these days?)

  5. J.A. Says:

    Bea Arthur and Angela Lansbury

  6. Pamela Earl Says:

    I second Steve On Broadway that Ms. Dunaway should reprise the role of Lucille LeSueur.

    Bette praised (on the Barbara Walters show so it’s gospel)
    Debra Winger’s work, thinking it was the closest to her own.

    The cold hard truth is we don’t have any real stars or faces.

    Only perfume peddlers.

  7. the merm Says:

    Well, I’d be the obvious choice if I were alive. But since I’m dead, I can see Meryl Streep and Sigourney Weaver in the roles. (I had thought about Kathleen Turner as well….)

  8. M/N Holmes Says:

    Pattie Lu Pone (Bette Davis)
    Susan Sarandon (Joan Crawford)

  9. Neil Wallace Says:

    Not certain of the ages of the respective actresses you’re looking for as the book covers their whole lives so I’m suggesting three pairings; Christina Ricci (B) and Scarlett Johansson (J), Glen Close (B) and Angelica Huston (J) or Angela Lansbury (B) and Geraldine Chaplin (J).

  10. Neil Wallace Says:

    Could I also suggest you add a link to for additional inspiration.

  11. Nursey Says:

    There’s a couple of old crone midwives I work with who could a have a bash at it!

  12. David Baker Says:

    After enjoying her glorious Fanny on BBC Four, I would suggest Julia Davis in the Joan Crawford role, and Lindsay Duncan – she does icy very well – taking Bette’s place.

  13. Shaun Whelan Says:

    Uk version of film – Diana Rigg for Joan and not so easy for Bette but maybe out of retirement Glenda Jackson.

  14. Shaun Whelan Says:

    Not sure why I have to moderate my comment – seemed perfectly reasonable suggestion to me – wasn’t like I nominated John Wayne!

  15. Camy Says:

    Personally, I don’t think Miss Dunaway should ever be allowed near the role of ‘Our Joan’ again, as long as she lives. I’d also see ‘Christina Dahling’ shot at dawn.

    As for the casting, I’d go for Sean Young as Joan (just look up some stills form Ace Ventura [awful film, but you’ll see the resemblance straight away]) and you’ll know why. I think Meryl Streep would be amazing as Bette, but she looks nothing like her, so either lots of prosthetics would be needed, or I’d go with Susan Sarandon, as she actually does look like Bette circa All About Eve.

    Coincidentally, Davis approved of Streep in a big way. She even said that, if ‘Eve’ was ever remade, she’d like to look down from above and see Streep playing her role.

    The end. x

  16. chris Says:

    i am thinking meryl streep as bette (1940’s), angelica houston as joan (1940’s), Gillian anderson as joan (1920’s-30’s), charlize theron as bette

  17. Camy Says:

    I’m sorry to have been so arrogant and stupidly aloof in the presence of my fellow Bette & Joan Fans.

    Please, if anyone would like to make friends (however long-distance) please drop me an email @ – including moderators VERY MUCH.

    I’m 25, and it’s very difficult tofind such nice, genuine and downright bloody fabulous fans like myself here, so I can’t wait to hear from you all!

    As a footnote, I can also accommodate any fabulous Americans who wish to come over for our wonderful Edinburgh festival. For those of my age, BUT NOT so fabulous, I will happily put you up for the weekend in my own flat (5 bedrooms, own it myself, no sharers) as long as you bring me a Bettebdavis DVD that I cannot buy in my own country. I have them ALL, by the way, so titles such as ‘Juarez’ and ‘Where Love Has Gone’ and ‘Strangers’ are welcome.

    Look forward yto seeing as many of you as possible. Especially you moderators mand YOU, Mr. Considine.

    Big Scottish hugs. xxx

  18. Jennifer Says:

    It’s too late to enter the competition now, but I hope someone thought of suggesting Madonna and Sandra Bernhardt. Surely they are Bette and Joan reincarnated and whoever suggested them must win the competition!

  19. Antigone Abbabba Says:

    HOw about Sharon Gless and tyne Daley aka Cagney & lacey

  20. Fued fan Says:

    At first i thought Jodie forster for Bette, but she looks nothing like her. So then i changed my mind, Julianne Moore would be amazing as Bette – similar in looks and size.. Demi Moore for Joan. She was practically playing her in Bobby! She really looks similar too.

  21. Joshua Says:

    Virginia Madsen (Joan Crawford)

    Kate Winslet (Bette Davis)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: