Casting Couch

Chris Chalk Will Play James Baldwin in the Next Season of Ryan Murphy’s “Feud”

As the long-awaited sophomore season of FX’s Feud inches towards release, the growing cast list continues to put gay characters front and center. Now, FX has announced that Perry Mason star Chris Chalk will play queer luminary author James Baldwin in the upcoming historical drama.

“I’ve always wanted to play him,” Chalk told Deadline in a recent podcast interview. Looking back on the production, which was shot several months ago, he described the set as “such a supportive environment, like mind-blowingly supportive.”

Because it was the role of a lifetime, that only amped up the pressure to get Baldwin right. “We shot 20 pages in two days,” Chalk recalled. “I got the script and was like, ‘That’s a lot of words.’ I had a little mini panic attack… but it was amazing. Then there was a five-page monologue.”

Feud was created by Ryan Murphy, who passed the reigns after the first season in 2017. The series dramatizes historical feuds among the rich and famous, with the first season focusing on the behind-the-scenes relationship between Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? stars Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) and Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon).

Season two, titled Feud: Capote’s Women, will follow the social-climbing hijinks of famed In Cold Blood author Truman Capote. Based on Laurence Leamer’s book of the same name, the series will follow Capote’s friendship with a group of New York socialites in the late 60s—women whom he dubbed his “swans.” After learning their secrets, Capote published a tell-all Esquire piece in 1975, “La Côte Basque 1965,” sparking the titular feud.

The slate of actors playing the aforementioned women were announced last year. Lee Radziwill, Jackie Kennedy’s sister, is being portrayed by Naomi Watts. Chloë Sevigny will play actress CZ Guest, and Molly Ringwald will play Joanne Carson, the ex-wife of Johnny Carson. Calista Flockhart and Diane Lane will play fashion icons Babe Paley and Nancy “Slim” Keith respectively. And lastly, Tom Hollander (the gay ‘uncle’ from The White Lotus) is taking up the mantle of Capote himself.

Gus Van Sant is directing the second season with Jon Robin Baitz developing the script. Feud: Capote’s Women is expected to release sometime next year.

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