Speaker Dialogue
[1978 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California.]
(Seagulls chirping, waves crashing) (bell rings) (indistinct conversations)
Olivia de Havilland There was never a rivalry like theirs. For nearly half a century, they hated each other, and we loved them for it. You know, Joan's real name was Lucille LeSueur. The poor thing, she was raised in utter squalor. I mean literally. Scrubbed toilets before coming to Hollywood. At the peak of the Depression - that's when I first started out - she was the woman every man wanted and every woman wanted to be. Many think of her as the greatest star of all time. Now, my dear friend Bette well, she, quite frankly, was the greatest actress Hollywood had ever known. During the war, she played all the best roles, and she played them with a I-I don't know how to say this, but with a ballsy intensity that none of us, actor or actress, would have dared. You know, they only made one film together. And how that happened and what happened afterwards, well well, that was a story and a feud of biblical proportions.
Interviewer What was behind their feud? Why did they hate each other so much?
Olivia Feuds are never about hate; feuds are about pain. They're about pain.
[1961 Golden Globe Awards ceremony]
Announcer Please welcome to the stage, tonight's winner, Miss Marilyn Monroe!
(Sweeping orchestra music plays, cheering and applause)
Joan Crawford I've got great tits, too, but I don't throw them in everyone's face.
Peter All right, darling.
Marilyn Monroe (giggles) Gee. Gosh, I just sure didn't expect this. You know, I always said that, if I was the star, it was because the people made me a star, and You know, when I was a girl, I used to look out into the Hollywood sky and think, "Gosh, I just want to be a movie star," you know? (chuckles) And now I'm part of you. So, thank you so much. Gosh, I should try to thank some people, huh? I'm just so bad at remembering names.
[Ext. Joan Crawford's residence]
(Car door closes) (doorbell rings)
Hedda Hopper Hedda Hopper for Joan.
Mamacita Miss Crawford is occupied.
Hedda She's had enough time to sleep it off. Announce me.
[Upstairs int. Joan Crawford's residence]
Joan Is there anything we can do about these lines? I'm afraid I'm gonna be served for Thanksgiving dinner.
Nonah The best you can do for this? High collars. Turtle neck for turkey neck.
Joan Christ, Nonah, can't you give me some hope? Ugh.
Nonah You know how it is: Men age, they get character; women age, they get lost.
(knocks on door)
Joan What?
Mamacita I'm sorry, Miss Joan. Hedda Hopper's downstairs.
Joan (quietly) Oh, Jesus.
[Downstairs int. Joan Crawford's residence]
Joan Hedda. (chuckles) You know I never receive unscheduled guests, not even my children.
(Both chuckle)
Joan But here you are.
Hedda Well, you ran out of the Globes last night before I could get a quote.
Joan Did I? Mamacita? Coffee. Well, it was a marvelous event. I do so appreciate the foreign press. They've been so very kind to me.
Hedda I didn't come here for the boilerplate, Joan. From what I hear, you stumbled out of there in a drunken fit.
Joan (flashback) I'm gonna go back inside.
Peter (flashback) Baby...
Joan Well, you know how those award dinners can be.
Joan (flashback) Stop it!
Joan I must've eaten something that disagreed with me.
Hedda Crow?
Joan (flashback) (grunts)
Hedda Had to have been pretty galling, watching the foreign press fawn all over Monroe like that.
[Flashback ends.]
Joan Hedda, you know, when I'm out in public events like that, I only drink Pepsi-Cola. I am the brand ambassador.
Hedda I don't know why you keep plugging that shitty sugar water. Word is, since Al died, the board isn't paying your bills anymore, and you're having to sell your custom Billy Haines furniture piece by piece just to keep the lights on.
Joan You wouldn't print those lies.
Hedda Got to print something.
Joan All right, then print this: "Joan Crawford, after mourning the passing of her husband, the beloved Alfred Steele, is ready to get back to work."
Hedda Oh, come on, Joan. Give me a quote. You know my readers would be fascinated with hearing the thoughts of yesterday's it girl about today's.
Joan There can only be room for one it girl. Is that right?
Hedda Well, men built the pedestal, darling, not me. There's only room for one goddess at a time.
Joan Well, men may have built the pedestal, but it's the women who keep chipping away at it until it comes tumbling down.
Hedda So what's it gonna be, honey? A quote on Monroe, or am I gonna have to write about how a valet saw you stumble into a Cadillac?
Joan All right.
Hedda (chuckles) Good.
Joan I think that Marilyn Monroe and the vulgarity of her clothing and pictures is ruining this great industry that I love. People don't want to see stars like Monroe in pictures, they want their stars to be wholesome, with good morals. Like me.
Hedda That's not the only difference between you and her. She's getting roles.
[Int. Marty's office]
Marty What's this about?
Joan This, my friend, is the Academy Award for Best Actress I won in 1945 for Mildred Pierce. And I would like another one. And do you know what I need, Marty, to make that happen? A great script. I want to work now that Al's dead. I want to work, Marty. I need to work.
Marty I sent you a great script four months ago, Joan. You did it, and you were wonderful in it.
Joan No. It was a pilot. I had to do my own makeup, and it wasn't even picked up to series.
Marty Joan, how about this, let me read everything that's out there, send over the highlights. You go through the pile and find something that excites you.
[Int. Joan Crawford's residence]
Marty (Over the phone) Joanie!
Joan I can't play Elvis' grandmother. I won't do it. Maybe you better send me some other scripts.
Marty That's all I have, Joan. That's all they're making.
Joan Marty, I am an actress, I want to act. I'm at the top of my game right now.
Marty Then you need to find a project yourself, 'cause the roles just aren't out there.
[Int. Bookstore]
Clerk May I help you?
Mamacita I need books.
Clerk Was there a particular title you were interested in?
Mamacita Anything with ladies on the cover.
[Int. Joan Crawford's residence]
(Door opens) (sighs) (door closes)
Joan Oh, Mamacita. Good.
Mamacita That's all they had. I could try Encino next. Unless you found something you like.
Joan Everything written for women seem to fall into just three categories: ingénues, mothers, or gorgons.
Mamacita So where does that leave you?
Joan We'll find something. No, no, Mamacita, nothing Sapphic.
Mamacita I ran into the gardeners outside. They want to know when they'll get paid. We owe them two months.
Joan What did you tell them?
Mamacita That it was an honor to prune Miss Crawford's bush and to shut up.
Joan (sighs) These are lean times, Mamacita, but we'll get through them.
Mamacita This one is about a baby.
Joan Which pile, "mothers"? (sighs)
[Sodom and Gomorrah set]
(soundstage bell rings)
Robert Aldrich And action! Cut! Cut! Plywood. You get them plywood in there
Crew Members

- Plywood. Plywood. - Plywood.

Bill Aldrich Dad, you're needed in the control center, pronto.
Crew Members Plywood. Plywood!
[Int. Office]
Robert If I make another sandal saga, put a bullet in my head.
Pauline Jameson Eva Braun's on the horn. I told her you're busy, but she keeps calling back.
Robert Gretchen, my love. How's my little strudel? What? No, no, you can't come down here today. Why? Because my kids are working on the set, that's why. What if word got back to my wife? Yeah. I'll call you back. Christ. She wants to be in the movie now.
Pauline Well, that's because she knows the only time you really pay attention to a woman is when she's in front of your camera.
Robert This movie we're making, Pauline, it is a piece of crap. Hey, what about that espionage script?
Pauline Oh, no, stinko. I know who did it on page three. But this one This one has potential. Horror/thriller, two broads, former movie stars. A cripple and her crazy sister battling it out in their Hollywood home.
Robert (sighs) A horror picture? Hitch just did it with Psycho. Still raking it in.
Pauline But even better, Baby Jane has one set. It's a very small cast. You can have final cut. You can produce this yourself. Face it, Bob, Ben-Hur has already been done.
Robert Where'd you get this?
Pauline Oh, it came by messenger, special delivery. Along with this.
[Ext. Joan Crawford's residence]
Boy Miss Crawford?
Joan Yes?
Boy Special delivery.
("Autumn Leaves" by Nat King Cole playing) (engine starts) (car door closes, car departs)
Mamacita She's expecting you. She's expecting you on the patio.
[Joan Crawford's patio]
Joan Bob. Tea?
Robert If we're gonna talk business, I'm gonna need a real drink.
Joan Sally, dear, will you go in the house and see if Mamacita needs any help?
Robert One of your fans?
Joan Well, if they're going to hang around all day, I'm going to put them to work.
Robert So, are we gonna make this picture?
Joan If you can satisfy my demands.
Robert Can anybody, Joanie? We did pretty well the last time. Autumn Leaves made millions. It would have made a million more if you'd gotten off your goddamn high horse and let me mess you up a little.
Joan It would have made $2 million more if you'd gotten me Brando. Now, you listen to me on this picture. I'll get you the perfect costar.
Robert Who do you have in mind?
[Royale Theater; The Night of Iguana stage play]
Man I didn't know the patrona had turned to a widow, a sort of bright widow spider.
Bette Davis Cocktails, anybody?
Woman No, thank you, Mrs. Faulk. I don't believe we'll have any.
Man They don't serve cocktails between the fish and the entree, Maxine, honey.
Woman Mercilessly accurate, Mr. Shannon.
Man But when I asked you for one, you offered it to me without a sign of reluctance.
Woman Aren't you making a large point out of a small matter?
Man Just the opposite, honey. I'm making a small point out of a very large matter. Where'd you learn how to light a match in the wind?
Woman Oh, I've learned lots of useful little things along the way. I only wish I'd learned some big ones.
Man Such as what?
Woman How to help you, Mr. Shannon.
Man Now I know why I've come here.
Woman So you can meet someone who knows how to light a match in the wind?
(Man coughs, knocks on door)
Bette What?!
Security Guard There's a lady here to see you.
Bette Who is it?
Security Guard Joan Crawford.
Bette You're fucking kidding me.
Joan Bette.
Bette Lucille, what the hell brings you to the theater?
Joan Well, you, of course. Oh, you were wonderful tonight. You lit up the stage. I can't believe you didn't get better reviews. New York critics, they don't like us Hollywood people coming in, taking over their town. I say screw 'em.
Bette Make it quick, Lucille, I've got a car waiting to take me to the country.
Joan Guess what, Bette. I have finally found the perfect project for the two of us. It's always been my dream to work with you. Do you remember how I begged Jack Warner to put us together in Ethan Frome?
Bette With Mr. Gary Cooper.
Joan You do remember.
Bette You wanted to play the pretty young servant girl, and I was to play the old hag of a wife. Forget it.
Joan But this is different. These are the parts of a lifetime.
Bette No, thanks, Lucille. I've got plenty of better offers.
Joan (chuckles) Bullshit. I know what kind of offers you've been getting. Exactly none, because the same is true for me. They're not making women's pictures anymore. Not the kind we used to make.
Bette It's all cyclical. They'll come back in fashion.
Joan But we won't. If something's going to happen, we have to make it happen. No one's looking to cast women our age. But together, they wouldn't dare say no. We need each other, Bette.
Bette So what the hell happened to her anyway, Baby Jane?
Joan Read it. Find out. Oh, I-I'm offering you the title role.
Bette The lead?
Joan You can call it that.