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How Feud’s John Waters cameo came to be

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This post contains discussion of plot points from Sunday’s episode of Feud, ”Hagsploitation.”

This week’s Feud has a treat for film fans in the form of a cameo: The legendary John Waters appears as the legendary William Castle, director of the Joan Crawford ax-murderer movie Strait-Jacket. Waters has talked frequently throughout the years about his love for Castle’s work so when the episode’s co-writer and director Tim Minear was deciding who to cast it was the obvious choice to play the man behind The Tingler. “I wrote the scene, and we were sitting around going, who would be a great cameo to play William Castle? In part of my research of William Castle I kept finding John Waters talking about William Castle,” he told The A.V. Club. “What I discovered was [that] John had actually been in the audience of one of the screenings of that tour, where Castle took Crawford around for Strait-Jacket. So he saw it in real life. It did seem to me that John Waters—who is an icon in his own right—would bring something special to playing another icon for whom he had big affection, and who he has often said inspired him to become a film director. So it just seemed like the only thing to do.”

As for what Waters was like on set, Minear added: “He was just super gracious, and he was there to play.”


Broadly, the “Hagsploitation” marks a turning point from he series as it moves away from the events surrounding What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? and moves onto the story of how Bette Davis and Joan Crawford tried to re-team for Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (which didn’t work out). Minear, an executive producer, called this segue a “reboot of the story,” and with that comes a shift in tone. “It’s weird—it’s almost like the Baby Jane feud is the fun feud, and then the Charlotte feud is a lot more dark and closer to actually cutting into the bone,” Minear explained. “When you get to this part, we’re stripping away a lot of the glamour and a lot of the iconography and you’re getting down to these two women who were at a particular point in their lives. And it’s about fatality.” With this hour, to Minear, ”the music becomes a minor key and it becomes a little more melancholy.” Feud wraps up after just two more installments.