Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? was such a smash success, studio executives suddenly were eager to cast the two in a second film. Director Robert Aldrich cast the two in his next film, Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte. Unfortunately after only a short while of filming, Joan Crawford became ill and could not complete the film. In need of a new leading lady fast the studio contacted both Katharine Hepburn and Vivien Leigh. Hepburn did not respond to the studio, while, Leigh reportedly responded, “No, thank you. I can just about stand looking at Joan Crawford’s face at six o'clock in the morning, but not Bette Davis.” The role ultimately went to Davis’ friend, Olivia de Havilland.
Robert called me. Then Olivia called me. She just did not want to play a villainess. I begged her to reconsider. “Livvie, you must,” I said. “You would be wonderful in this.” The next day, she told Aldrich she had reread the script, had talked to me, and would take the part. Which meant that she had to leave for the United States almost immediately. When her plane landed in California at two or three o’clock in the morning - the Paris flights always get in at peculiar times - I was at the airport to meet her.
Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland in Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (Dir. Robert Aldrich, Cinematography. Joseph F. Biroc, 1964)
“Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte was full of traps, it was a delicate tight-rope walking assignment. I found that very interesting. Aldrich gave it a very special style, a kind of dark glittering style which fascinated me.” - Olivia de Havilland