The Capote Tapes (2019) Movie Script

Well it's so
nice to hear your voice.
I'll tell you what I'm doing;
you know I'm doing this
huge history of good old
Truman Capote?
And the people that he knew and who
talk about him either pro or con
they all seem to have their
Truman stories.
And I was wondering if you could
gather up some of your memories?
And one of the most
seductive people I ever met.
I thought he was a freak,
absolute freak.
One of the most lionized
writers since Voltaire.
It's a sleazy bit of work.
Oh he was wicked.
He was fun.
He was totally
made out of drugs.
It would feel like
a candied tarantula.
It was still the naughty
little kid in Truman.
I haven't had
a good laugh since he died.
Do you think
he's the writer of the moment?
Do you think Truman's going
to be read by generations?
I'm Kate Harrington and I live
in Sheridan, Wyoming.
When I was 13 years old I was
basically adopted by Truman.
I met Truman in my mother's
living room.
And Truman was invited by
my father to come have dinner.
And he came in this big
out to our little neighbourhood,
about an hour outside of Manhattan.
And of course all the kids
came to look at the limousine.
I'd never met anybody who spoke
like he did.
Um, and at first I had
to run into the kitchen
and take a tea towel, and cover my face 'cause
I laughed about his - the sound of his voice.
And then my mother reprimanded
me hardly.
After that my father came home
one day and said
I'm going to become his manager.
So we said oh that's great.
Wonderful, so we didn't think
anything of it,
but he and my father
became lovers.
They had an on and off
relationship, very tumultuous.
My father had a lot of problems.
He was an alcoholic.
When my dad left he left us
with no money.
Truman's number was up by the
telephone, and so I called him and said
do any of your friends need a helper
this summer? I need to get a job.
Truman treated me like an adult
and just said OK, well
why don't you come into New York
and we'll have lunch
and discuss it?
So I took money out of the
cookie jar, played hooky,
got on the Long Island Railroad
and went into New York.
Truman told me how to do it
because I was so young.
I gave the paper
with the address to the taxi
and I went there to have lunch
with him.
He said the only thing you can do at your
age to make a good bit of money is model.
I thought that was a crazy idea because I
had never thought of myself in that way.
He took me to Richard
Avedon Studio
and just slowly, slowly, slowly
my whole world began to change.
'Cause he opened up the doors
of literature, dance,
art, music, fashion.
And meeting all kinds
of accomplished people.
He always said he was writing
a wonderful book about them.
Um, I used to get bored
at the lunches
and so he told me once on the
way there that what I should do
is sit in the booth and listen to the
conversation of the people next to us.
And on the way home I could tell
him everything they talked about.
It was sort of fun for him.
And ever since then
when I go to restaurants
I kind of do that out of habit.
And I would write in my journal.
Tell me are you a real writer? It
depends on what you mean by real.
Well darling, does anyone buy
what you write?
Not yet.
I'm going to help you
she said. I can too.
Think of all the people
I know who know people.
Fix me a drink darling, then you
can read me a story yourself.
In America there is only one
social class
that really matters
in a cultural sense.
And that is the quote
"high society of New York."
I mean you can be the richest
and most famous person in Boise,
Idaho and it doesn't matter.
Unless you're famous in New York
you're not famous.
These people took him up.
Truman saw everything
and he remembered it.
Sooner or later he was going
to put it down on paper.
An assortment of celebrated
people pay $50 to sip the bubbly
and exchanged small talk.
Mr. Capote was on hand for a benefit
preview of his newest offering.
You're a part of the in-crowd. You're
also referred to as the beautiful people,
do you know what that
phrase means?
I don't think that
any such thing really exists.
It doesn't mean anything.
Does it to you?
I don't know what it means.
Well I don't know then.
Maybe you could tell me.
Thank you.
Truman started
his day getting a cup of coffee
and sitting, and talking
to gossip columnists.
He'd trade all the gossip and they
would discuss all the happenings,
secrets and you know I'd
hear him laughing hysterically
that kind of hilarious,
guttural laugh.
Oh well that wasn't
in the thing...
He was a fantastic gossip. He knew
everything. So you could sit next to
Truman it was just a dream come
because he would just you know?
Just spill it all out.
So you would just eat it up.
And thank god he he never thought
he wanted to write about me
'cause God knows
what I told him.
And he was bitchy,
but he was smart.
I really mean this.
That the less intelligent the
performer is the better he is.
For instance Marlon Brando is
an absolutely marvellous actor,
but he's so dumb it makes
your skin crawl.
He'd encourage
you to come up with stories
which he would then make much
more Trumanesque and-and bizarre,
and conversations with him
were-were-were enormous fun
and had very little to do
with the truth.
I can't remember exactly when I first
met Truman because he was everywhere.
Any sort of big party you went to
in New York I mean there was Truman.
You think you could cut
that scene out?
New York for many of us
is the ultimate destination.
The biggest stage that there is. In New
York nobody cares where you came from.
Nobody cares you know really
even where you went to school
or who your parents are. They just want
to know you know how entertaining you are.
What are you doing tonight?
Call it New York call it whatever you like.
The name hardly matters.
Entering from the great reality
of elsewhere
one is only in search of a city.
A place to lose or discover
one's self.
To make a dream wherein you prove
you're not an ugly duckling,
but wonderful and worthy
of love.
As you thought sitting
on a stoop,
planning your search for a city.
His first book at the age of 23
he was -
it was you know a beautiful
little coming of age novel
set against a rural background.
A small southern town.
I think somebody - one reviewer
called it the Fairy Huck Finn.
Just about as explicit as you could
be back then I guess in a book review.
Radclif eyed the boy
over the rim of his beer glass.
He had his notions of what
a real boy should look like.
And this kid offended them. He was too
pretty, too delicate and fair-skinned.
Each of his features was shaped
with a sensitive accuracy.
A girlish tenderness softened his
eyes which were brown and very large.
His hair cut short was streaked
with pure yellow strands.
Well he was
rather a spectacle wasn't he?
Nothing ever like him on the
American scene really.
I mean a very astonishing figure. Did
you invite him to your house often?
For many years George's parties
were the literary centre
of New York City.
George had given me my break and he was taking
me around and introducing me to everybody.
And of course inevitably I got to Truman
who was very friendly shall we say?
There was a little bit of groping involved,
but he was easily fended off you know,
he was playing the aging queen.
You know early success
is a bit of a curse.
You can get locked into
an image, a persona
which is based on the public's
first glimpse of you.
In my case it was the coke-snorting. Night
clubbing protagonist of my first novel.
In his case this effete,
elfin little southern boy.
We lived
a block away from one another.
Every gay life in
those years took courage.
So much self-invention,
so much care, so much work.
So much looking in the mirror
thinking who in the name of God
is this that I'm looking at?
Or everyone did
and I think that fed him,
and nourished him as a writer.
It wasn't as though he was seeing
himself in television, or in the movies,
or represented in any other way.
There was no one in the mirror
when he looked.
So then he could represent
himself in an entirely new way
with full honesty,
full disclosure.
Well this is who I am.
I am your local gay.
There has to be one,
and I am he.
He swished the
lavender curtains apart.
Joel's image floated
on the looking glass.
His formless reflected
face was wide lit
as if it were a heat-softened
wax effigy.
It was a strong feeling you know
with I don't know
the sort of book crowd that Truman
wasn't entirely serious perhaps.
There was a sharp divide between
high culture and low culture.
And yet Truman kind of straddled
that border.
Would you like me to read a scene
from Breakfast at Tiffany's?
Most people say him as the
author of Breakfast at Tiffany's.
"I've got the
most terrifying man downstairs"
she said stepping off
the fire escape into the room.
"I mean he's sweet, but he isn't
drunk, but let him start"
lapping up the vino and oh God
quel beast!
"If there's one thing I loathe
it's men who bite."
She loosened a grey flannel robe
off her shoulder
to show me evidence of
what happens if a man bites.
We all think
of Audrey Hepburn now
and of course you read the book
and it's completely different.
She's a barely legal teenager
from Appalachia or something
and quite openly a prostitute.
Makes no bones about it.
And is a strange combination of
manipulative and used by the world.
The book is a lot grittier. There's
much less of a facade of glamour.
Of course it doesn't have
the love story.
What do you think? This ought to be the right
kind of place for a tough guy like you.
Garbage cans, rats galore.
Scram! I said take off!
Oh yeah?
Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly
searching for love in the big town.
I think there's a lot of Truman's
own mother in Holly Golightly.
Truman's mother was like Holly
from a small southern town.
She was also a bit of
a courtesan.
Truman's childhood was in
some ways heart-breaking.
His mother abandoned him
and left him in rural Alabama,
and he got to stay with
these couple of aunts
and he - his cousin was his
dear friend who he called Sook.
She probably had some
developmental problems.
So she saved him.
Spoons spin around
in bowls of butter and sugar.
Melting, nose-tingling
odours saturate the kitchen
and drift out into the world
on puffs of chimney smoke.
We are cousins,
and have lived together as long
as I can remember.
We are shy with everyone.
Other people inhabit the house
and frequently make us cry.
We are not too much aware
of them.
All of those
relationships are distant.
He's brought up in this
where there's no possibility
of either mother or father.
Orphanhood, in other words
he was brought up
by the same people who'd brought
his mother up.
And so I mean you just imagine
that you know that it's the second generation
of people who come from broken marriages.
He said to me once how do you
think I felt living there?
I'm little but I'm old.
He said here's
this little gay, sawed off man.
I guess 'cause he means he was so short.
He said it was dreadful.
Come on.
Truman shared a childhood with his
aunts, and with his buddy Harper Lee
in the small southern town which was
later immortalised not only by Truman,
but also by Harper Lee
in To Kill a Mockingbird.
Harper Lee
was someone who he loved.
In To Kill a Mockingbird he's that
little, annoying boy who lives next door.
Good morning. My you're up
mighty bright and early.
Well I've been up since 4:00.
Oh yes, I always get up at 4:00.
It's in my blood.
You see my daddy was
a railroad man till he got rich.
Now he flies airplanes.
One of these days he's just going
to swoop down here at Maycomb,
pick me up and take me
for a ride.
I mean people kept
letters from him.
There are two early letters
both of which I love.
One to the novelist
Thomas Flannigan
who is a schoolmate
and just a letter saying
all the lies I have been spreading
about Thomas Flannigan are untrue.
I promise never to say anything
about him to anyone again.
In other words that already aged
10, 11, 12
he was known as someone who made
things up and caused trouble.
And he also was known as someone
who could switch identities
and wanted to do so.
And the other is to his father.
As you know my name was changed from
Persons to Capote, and I would appreciate
that in the future you would
address me as Truman Capote.
As everyone knows me
by that name.
Truman Capote's
Breakfast at Tiffany's.
mother went to New York.
Won't you join me?
She was very pretty and she finally
captured a rich man, Joe Capote.
I'd marry you for your money
in a minute.
Would you marry me for my money?
In a minute.
Truman's mother asked Truman
when he was in his teens
to come live with Joe Capote
and her. And Joe adopted him.
Truman's mother
was someone who wanted to
achieve success in the city,
and in fact did.
She actually lived on Park Avenue for
a while and made a splash as a hostess.
Later in his life in the 50s
Nina had a very sad end
where she killed herself.
So - and Truman always said that,
that was the thing that he drank over.
He would say to me I watched
my mother die in my arms.
I don't know if that's true,
but I - that's what he said.
I mean Truman used to always say
don't let the truth get in
the way of a good story.
His mother did not accept him.
Despite his celebrity,
despite his brilliance
was never happy about
his sexuality.
But to have a parent
commit suicide,
especially one with whom you
haven't had a good relationship,
that's one of the most traumatic things
that can happen to someone at any age.
you don't get resolution
for that.
He was embittered by his mother.
She essentially tossed him out.
I don't know how old he was four,
five, six something like that.
And I don't think he ever
forgave her for that.
And I think it's the reason he had
this terrible need to be loved.
And I don't think Truman
ever thought he was loved.
I'm serious I don't
think he ever found it.
Hello Carole how are you? Nice to
see you again. Well here we are.
He loved Babe
more than the others.
And I only say that because
he talked about her the most.
Isn't it true that an impression
of coldness accompanies perfection?
Might it be that what you feel
is actually fear?
It is as much fright as appreciation which
causes the stabbed-by-an-icicle chill
that for a moment murders us
when a swan swims into view.
I come
from St. Teresa;
more tears are shared over answered
prayers than unanswered ones.
And I thoroughly believe
that to be a great truth.
Women ruled New York society.
At the very top of high society
were some extraordinary
looking women
who had great grace,
and most importantly
great taste.
The effort was visible, and the
money that went into it was visible.
And I think some
of that artistry,
the literal putting on of masks
and costumes
must have very much appealed
to someone as naturally
theatrical as Truman Capote.
These women were brought up
in a world of polish and shine.
Although we were probably doing
the polishing and shining.
Someone I know in fashion had her handbags
polished by her French maid Yvonne.
Yvonne ironed how $5 bills.
So if she needed to catch a taxi after
dinner she'd have a crisp $5 bill.
This is the kind of thing that
creates the legacy of style.
And it is permanent.
It is a style that goes forever.
And it's aspirational.
It is totally aspirational.
Truman opened up these gates to this
sort of paradise he prepared for himself.
His letters are amazing. If he
goes on a boat with five people
he has a vicious thing to say about each of them.
Oh her last doctor said no more face lifts.
Or the man who had his face lathered
by 10 year old boys every morning.
It's just disgusting and you know, everyone's
disgusting. Everyone's boring him.
He's in Greece and he says the
only words of Greek he's learned
is "go away fat girl.
Go away fat boy."
You don't break into that world;
you're taken up by that world.
Because the chief problem
that rich people face is
the endemic boredom
of living in a social ghetto.
Because one class of people
all think the same way.
All who have the same desires, all who
have roughly the same amount of wealth
and they bore each other silly.
Can you imagine the dinner
parties he was invited to,
if he didn't go how boring
they would be?
He was expected to perform
and perform he did.
Oh God, didn't you
ever hear this story?
They had him as the
Which must've been exhausting
for Truman on some level
to always feel like you had
to be on,
but I think he thought it was a small
price to pay to get to live that life.
So watch out.
Well in those days homosexuality
was not acceptable.
There were very, very few people
who were out.
But there were you know people
used to call them walkers you know?
That - a lot of women would have gay men
take them to parties and that sort of thing.
And everybody sort of knew who was and
who wasn't, but no one ever discussed it.
I'm sure their husbands did. The word
pansy was flying around Park Avenue.
Straight people or as we call
them breeders
looked at Truman like they
looked as effeminate gay men.
Objects of contempt
and ridicule.
Gloria loved him.
She stayed with him a lot.
I used to say it's bedtime, off
you go because he'd talk all night.
Yes pa, off he'd go.
Truman had thought of himself
as a master.
And then it becomes clear to him
that they think of him as a servant.
And that was a blow.
He didn't get a story.
He was out of his own world.
He would lose himself
in his own world.
And that story
seemed to him Kansas.
It was so far away from what he was
doing that it sort of woke him up.
In Cold Blood
is the story of these six people
who died together November
15th, 1959
and my book is the story
of their lives and their deaths.
He steps entirely outside his world,
his comfort zone, and even his genre.
He called it a non-fiction
But until that moment novels
had been precisely fiction.
Once you blend fiction and non-fiction
things get a little slippery you know?
It is dangerous.
This is the new adventure of mine; this
experiment is what I call the non-fiction novel.
He did a thing that journalists do
which is to engrace yourself with people
whom you don't know,
who you hope never to see again
but you want to be
their best friend
just now because you needa quote, a story.
The difference with Truman Capote was
that he did it over a six year period
and that he did it to most
of Kansas.
There's so much
speculation about the degree
to which Capote manipulated his
subjects especially in In Cold Blood.
That he became very close
to Perry Smith
to exhort personal confessions
from him to enliven the narrative.
This is a picture
of Perry and these were taken
the very day he was captured
and went to prison.
See there they were taken during the
course of my very first interview with him.
Harper Lee who was there says
the minute he appeared
and Truman Capote saw him
he had something that matched, something
that worked. It was a sexual thing.
Of course it upped
the whole business of his book
because he was writing a book
about a sort of figure
that he had come to want.
Which do you think? That's the
picture of Perry I think is the best.
It's possible to
say that he went into the story
with his own Cold Blood.
He was using his charm to get
close to all these people.
But he was also emotionally
Be very, very careful how you
read this story. He was needy too.
Perry was a strange and
difficult boy,
but we became very um, very,
very close too and very intimate
sort of
an intense sort of friendship.
Don't know if friendship's exactly the word,
but some kind of very intense relationship
having to do with his total
And of course because of
my work.
His own face enthralled him. Each angle
of it induced a different impression.
It was a changing face
and mirror guided experiments
had taught him how to bring
the changes,
how to look now ominous,
now impish, now soulful.
A tilt of the head,
a twist of the lips
and the corrupt gypsy became
the gentle romantic.
I really think you've
written a masterpiece here.
Well, thank you. You'll get
a much better dedication
because of that sweet thing.
A book about
this crime by Truman Capote
became a worldwide bestseller.
Now a motion picture brings
this book to the screen.
He wrote too many
letters to too many people
in the months beforehand saying
he needed a goddamn execution
to end this book.
Saying the stays of execution
have to stop.
Meaning these
people have to die.
This was one side
of him you know
he really just needed his book and
he didn't care about anything else.
But I think we have to allow for
something else to be there too.
It's absolutely clear to me that it wasn't
as simple as Cold Blood on his part.
That there was fright of
where he had got himself.
Perry was going to die
in this horrible way,
in this public way.
You can say to this day that nobody has
done a real live murder story as well,
with such an amount of immediacy and
clarity, and attention to detail,
and sort of coldness.
This may have been the real
Truman Capote.
The rest of the time is just fun,
lunch, dinner. Self-invention.
Only person who knows me
will be the reader of this book.
In Cold Blood propels him
into a world of achievements,
and a world of wealth.
So Truman Capote gave arguable
the only important ball
in the 20th Century.
And it is still legendary.
They all met here at the great
ball room that we're - the Plaza.
So this was a moment in time.
It was a bigger than life event.
As a young black man sitting in North
Carolina about to graduate from high school
I immediately ripped the pages of Vogue Magazine
out and put the whole thing up on my wall.
My entire room
was wallpapered in Vogue pages.
The New York Times did the most unprecedented
thing. They published the entire list.
So if you said oh, I was invited to the
ball but I decided to go on a vacation
you'd be caught out. You'd be busted
and that's what I loved the most.
All the ladies are wearing
masks on Truman Capote's order's
and the inky wretches of
the press on his orders also
are being kept at a discrete distance
from the guests outside this door.
The people arriving here have
come from Rome, from Hollywood,
Venice, Paris, Washington,
San Francisco, London
just to go to a party.
540 or so have dressed,
and coiffed, and masked themselves,
and presented themselves at the Plaza
for the honour of serving themselves at Truman
Capote's bar and saying they were here.
Maybe that had always been the
pathos of his childhood dreams.
Being somewhere grand, having all the most
beautiful, important people in the world
in costumes and Venetian masks.
As people made their appearances
Truman like a 12 year old
clapped his hands,
jumped up and down saying
oh you're my favourite.
Oh, you're the most beautiful.
Oh you are the best.
Oh yours is the most successful
to every person that walked
into that ball.
My first impressions were coming
into the Plaza Hotel.
The New York gossip press
was behind barricades.
It's the beginning of the
celebrity culture in America.
My most memorable moment was
dancing with Luciana Pignatelli,
the Princess. She was wearing
in the middle of her forehead
a large jewel rented for an
unconscionable amount of money.
Waltzing her around the dancefloor I
could see these two heavyset gentlemen
moving in time with the music.
They were sent by the jeweller,
heavily armed Pinkerton men
to keep their eye at all times
on the jewel.
Not on Luciana, on the jewel.
There are many enchanted
Mark Twain wrote
"a society that is the sum"
of its vanity and greed
is not a society at all.
"It is a state of war."
And that is the society
of Truman Capote
is putting on stage in the enchanted
kingdom at the Plaza Hotel.
And the state of war that exists
outside of the magic kingdom
is for the moment
a temporary truce.
That's right.
For the first
hours of it before the unmasking
anybody can dance with anybody
they want to,
or talk to anybody they want to.
It's a completely free thing.
And by the time the unmasking come
you've made a lot of new friends.
And that was the point.
It worked wonderfully.
It's the same kind of feeling
you get if you're asked to go
on a talk show
and there you are in the green
room with the famous actress,
and the dog trainer.
And we are a band of brothers.
Temporary, temporary.
Of course when we got away
from the green room
then we're very happy to knife
each other in the back.
I didn't get invited to his
famous masked ball.
I first met him on my show.
He has managed to become a
darling of the Beautiful People,
so he conducts that life and also
manages to get his work done.
Would you welcome please
Truman Capote right here?
He would kind of swing out
onto the stage
and go like that
and I thought well this is going
to be interesting.
You want to try the hat?
No I can't - I don't need a hat
with three balls.
I'm just an average person.
I remember watching Truman on
stage at Madison Square Garden
with Mick Jagger centre stage
doing his version of grooving.
I remember thinking is this
what a writer should be doing?
A whole evening standing on stage
while Mick is enthralling the audience.
The people would say it's Truman Capote, it's
Truman Capote. Capote, you could hear it.
A typical one of my notebooks.
He had a really hard time.
He would get up rather early
and go into his room.
And he would write for
about three hours.
But the day to day life with him
was incredibly calm and pleasant.
He was delightful.
He was very nurturing.
We didn't have too many
We ate out all the time.
He had canned soup,
raw shrimp, and tab soda.
And a lot of vodka
in the freezer.
Near the end of the 60s things
began to lighten up for gay people.
A lot of it had to do with
protests over the war.
The police had other things
to worry about.
You could go to a gay bathhouse and not be
afraid the police were going to come in.
Truman and I used to go
bar cruising.
Bars became very specific in the
appetites they were seeking to welcome.
Prison theme or registry of
lollipop with the other sailors.
And this was true of bath houses.
They became like little theatres
only they were sexual theatres.
I thought it was fun and then you combined
that with this incredible flood of drugs.
I mean eye popping it was unbelievable
you couldn't - it was hard to accept.
And Truman found it fascinating.
I found it fascinating because Truman and I
shared one thing that we were both voyeurs.
All writers are voyeurs.
Truman didn't want to go
to respectable nightclubs.
He wanted to go to all kinds
of bad places.
I mean one which Truman
absolutely loved was a lesbian bar
where the lesbians were
all in leather.
They all had motorcycles. And the girls
were very lively, and they liked Truman.
He got some kind of response from them,
and everybody was roaring with laughter,
and he knew just how to sort of get
them to as it were perform for him.
And they went along with it.
I think his writing was affected
slowly, slowly
because he began to care more about
meeting all kinds of people than writing.
And that's why Jack Dunphy
his long-time lover
shifted away from Truman.
Truman was drawn to all manner
of people.
I mean just the fact that
he fell in love with my father
you know who's like this guy from the
Bronx, this Irish guy from the Bronx
even though he lived
in Long Island.
O'Shay was a banker.
He was vice president of some
bank out in Long Island.
And Truman said he met him when
he went to open an account.
He was asked that you need
a place to deposit money,
and Truman said well I don't know
about money but I take deposits.
And Truman said at that point
he - he went down on Jack O'Shay
and and as they say
he was over the rainbow. So...
Point of fact he'd met him at the
East Side Sauna, it's a bath house.
I was so happy for my father with
regard to his meeting Truman.
Because he seemed happy
for the first time in his life.
And I was so, so crushed when
the same problems he had -
his violence, and his
alcoholism, and his cruelty
he was - he had a cruel side
my father -
began to manifest in Truman's life.
I was crushed because I had -
my fanciful idea that it was only because he
was gay and he was unhappy um, in our home
wasn't the truth.
They were driving along highways at
night-time and they got into a fight.
He slugged Truman and then opened the
door and shoved him out of the car.
Truman didn't know where he was and he said
I saw this little light in the distance
and I walked, and I walked and I went
off into this, and I knocked on the door.
And I said please help me,
help me.
And this man opened the door and he looked at
me and he said oh my God you're Truman Capote!
He slammed the door in my face.
Hey, don't you think that's a good likeness?
In his younger days, his younger days.
Well it's taken from a gentleman
old Avedon photograph.
How long ago Truman?
That photograph? It was
seven, eight years ago.
He's more handsome now
than then.
I can see something extremely
clearly in another person.
All their motivations, and what's
making the whole thing turn around.
And do it with great
And I hope compassion.
Sometimes not so compassionate.
But if I were to reverse the whole
thing around on myself I can't do it.
He just embarrassed his role
as the celebrity and he became
more of a talk show guest
than he did a working writer.
Well there was a moment
on my show
I asked him in effect why do you
hang out with all these fancy folks?
And he actually said way back in the
events of his life I'm writing about them.
I was going that
these people are my material.
Ah you're there...
And when I now make my forays
occasionally it's just to check up.
Is admitting this now on television
likely to reduce the number
of invitations you'll get because
people will be a little afraid?
Oh everybody knows what the book
is about.
No one's going to be the least bit annoyed
with me unless they've been left out.
That's probably it.
He must have known that there
was danger in all of that.
He talked about his great book you know which
of course I'd been hearing about for years.
We had - we all had you know? The book was
called Answered Prayers, a great society novel.
And he'd been allegedly working on it since
before the publication of In Cold Blood.
Answered Prayers was supposed
to be Truman's masterpiece.
He compared himself to Proust,
to Remembrance of Things Past
the great masterwork of
modernist literature.
Proust wrote about Parisian high society
and the aristocracy of France in his time.
And this was the terrain
that Truman was exploring.
He was on the yachts, he was on the private
planes, he was on the private islands.
He was privy to the secrets,
and the gossip.
I think there was a lot of hope that
Truman would pull off something Proustian.
It was a society he knew.
He was in the inner sanctum
of the Agnellis.
He was on the boats.
He was with Babe Paley. He thought
he could just change the names
and people won't recognize her.
Bad judgment.
Babe Paley had only one fault. She was
perfect. Other than that she was perfect.
Oh my, nan.
Oh my dear.
When I first met her there
wasn't any warmth at all.
Your feeling was who the hell
does she think she is?
But with Truman she was
very different. She relaxed.
She laughed. They had fun together.
It was fun. They were -
you're sitting having lunch with them and somebody
says something and they just look at each other.
They don't say anything. They just look at
each other and then they start laughing.
Like kids sitting in
the children's table
giggling about what's going on
at the adult table.
And I thought it was very sweet.
I don't know anyone Truman was with who
had that kind of unlimited acceptance with.
And I think that's why he was happy with her.
Because she loved him, and he loved her.
What Truman thought he was doing
and I think felt justified in doing
was taking the lid
off a bowl of shit.
Don't you have
a book about to appear?
Now for a couple of years we've
been waiting for Answered Prayers
and have you turned it over
to the publisher yet?
No. I refer to it now as my
posthumous novel.
Because either I'm going to kill
it, or it's going to kill me.
No matter what happens I'm going to
publish a big part of it this coming fall.
Okay, we'll take a short break
and we'll be right back...
He finally wrote something
that cost him mortally.
This book exposed unspeakably
private things about very,
very famous people.
That's right, that's right.
It was these thinly veiled identities of
people he knew. Stories about their lives.
And outrageous things that
people told him in secret,
and it was about these cafe
society people that he had known,
these jet set people and he
basically told all their secrets.
I didn't know that anyone
was upset by this magazine.
Two days later I go to this
party at Josh Logan's.
Josh Logan's this big director - movie
and theatre director in New York.
And his wife's name
is Netta Logan.
And who was this sort of
a barrel of an Irish cow.
And I - and I go in and
barrelling at me across the room
yelling how dare he?
How dare he?
Is Netta yelling and literally she's
going like this how dare he? How dare he?
And I said what are you - ah, you know what I'm
talking about! And she was going on about Truman.
How could he do that? How could he do that? How could
he do that to Ann? How could he do that to Ann?
And that's how I found out
about it.
Ann Woodward is a blond showgirl and
she married old, old New York money.
One day her husband was shot
to death.
In Truman's account of it
Anne set him up.
She grabbed the shotgun and shot
what she thought was a prowler.
Only it was her husband
with a hole through his head.
You don't think it was
an accident?
Come out of the trenches boy,
the war's over.
Of course it wasn't an accident.
She killed David with malice.
She's a murderess.
The police know that.
So they say.
As a writer I should probably
be proud because it shows that
what you write
actually can have an effect.
She had a terrible
marriage. Bill Paley, Mr. CBS
he was famously a womanizer.
They undressed in the dark.
None of his tricks caught
her fancy.
She lay there like a missionary
outraged by sweating Swahilis.
Dill couldn't come.
He felt as though he were sloshing
around in some strange puddle.
He felt sticky and strange
as though covered in blood.
As he was. So was the bed.
The sheets bloodied with stains
the size of Brazil.
As a woman reading it you're like
is that even physically possible?
Menstruation is as normal
as breathing, or sleeping.
What was wrong
with her? Was she haemorrhaging?
Clearly this is somewhat
Also was that considered a thing
that you would insult someone
by having sex with them
when you're?
He puts in so much detail about how
incredibly unattractive the woman is.
Even by the ungenerous standards of this story
the description of her is particularly cruel.
It's like he's trying to hurt, and
shock in every single way he can.
One response was how disgusting.
And the other was how could
your friend do this to you?
A short, sinister man who looks
exactly like Truman Capote
is preparing a fiendishly
ingenious crime.
The victim is here at this very
table, at this very moment.
And so too ladies and gentlemen
is the murderer.
Is he dead?
We touch nothing. We're all
experienced criminologists.
The backlash from
the individuals was wicked.
About a year ago you published a thing
in Esquire. It's a work of fiction.
No it's not.
Well it's not is it?
Who - what friends did you lose
if I may be so bold?
No, no three friends that
I really liked. And it was -
they were very, very good, very
close friends of mine and...
It kind of ruined him. It
almost was sort of suicide.
Nobody would have known if they
hadn't stood up and said I'm so angry.
How dare he say that about me!
It's fiction for God's sake!
Good lord I mean what is wrong with these
people? Talk about a lack of sophistication.
If it had been written about me
I'd say wonderful story,
who is he possibly writing
Answered Prayers is an early
template for reality TV.
Like the pettiness, the interpersonal
stuff. Knowing this cast of characters.
Not really thinking it has larger
meaning except in a pop cultural way.
I do think it's a precursor to a
lot of what we now are living with.
I remember his saying once
what are they upset about?
I was a writer. Did they think I was with
them because they were so interesting?
Babe said for Christ's sake
don't talk to me about Truman.
And then eventually she'd say well
all right let's talk about Truman.
Well what's happening now?
She's the only one he cried
over their friendship ending.
That's why I think he loved Babe the most. Because
he spoke about her forever, until he died.
I think he really, really never got over the
fact that she disappeared from his life.
The main body of people who he had lunches
with, and who he called first thing vanished.
Only CZ Guest stuck by him.
I would go
to this place called Studio 54.
Once Truman said there's
a new place and we have to go.
It's a night club and it's fabulous,
and you're going to love it.
Truman was one of the great
favourites there oh my gosh.
There was a huge crowd outside.
And little Truman would get out
of his limousine
and the guys would see him
and make a big path for him
and be like come on Truman.
Come on in.
And in you'd walk
to this inner sanctum.
It was dazzling. It was almost
the Black and White Ball.
Except it was public.
It was very upbeat and positive.
You felt good at 54.
I just sat
and kind of watched it all.
Like it was in a movie.
I would stay until he'd make me
go home.
So I never saw the real crazy, excessive
whatever may have happened after midnight.
It was the last days
of Sodom and Gomorrah.
People having sex, drugged out of their minds
and you'd just have to step over them.
They didn't even know who
they were having sex with.
You had to just gaze at
the moment of ebullient life.
On these evening patrols Joel
had witnessed many spectacles.
A girl waltzing stark naked, an old lady dropped
dead while puffing out candles on a cake.
And most puzzling of all two grown men in
an ugly little room kissing each other.
One of the things
that made Studio 54 attractive
is you could get cocaine there.
And I mean you
didn't pay for it.
It's totally integrated both
sexually and ethnically you know?
Boys and boys, girls and girls, girls and
boys, mules and fire hydrants. Anything goes.
Even though he had so much fun
during that he was also beginning
a terrible, terrible addiction
to prescription pain medicine.
So that photo
of Gloria Swanson and I
where Truman's basically
passed out
is indicative of some of the sad
things that were going on.
He would come out of it,
and go back into it.
He would function and then
he would fall apart.
Because I had experience
with my father
I knew how to be the adult and look after
the adult who was acting like a child.
Where were you last night?
Well I haven't actually been to bed for
about 48 hours. I mean you know I...
How come?
Somehow got here today just...
I was just going to take care of
Truman the way he took care of me.
When I say I'll do something
I do it.
Yes sir.
I really, really do it.
I'm you know?
At the end he unravelled.
And he unravelled on TV.
One appearance in particular where he
clearly came directly from Studio 54 drunk,
and coked out of his gourd. He
was making a spectacle of himself.
Is that you have had
a history of alcoholism.
It was a terrible thing to see.
How are you coming along
with the problem of drinking?
Truman had been
in and out of rehab.
And as I walked in the room
he looked oh hi Dotson.
And he said just a minute
I have to take my pills -
Antabuse - I have to take
my pill.
They have to see you take it,
and he took the pill.
And the nurse left and she shut
the door
and he goes works every time.
And he said oh, you want a drink?
The bar's over there. It's true.
I was walking near my apartment and I
suddenly saw Truman a little aged dwarf
carrying a huge plastic bag full of I don't know
what. Bottles and things which were clanking.
He looked like
a beggar. And I said Truman!
Come back and have a cup
of tea with me.
I got him in. he's very wobbly.
Sat him down and went
to put a kettle on.
But by the time I'd made the tea
Truman had emptied
a bottle of gin
which I think was half full
and was drunk to start with, but
this time he was blind drunk.
And there I was looking an idiot with a little
tray with a little pot of tea and so on
and I said look I've made this
for you. No interest at all.
And so off he went
into the dusk.
I was taking...
One program he
seemed ill on the show.
And there was a phrase
he kept using.
I seem to be going through
this terrible haze of pain.
And I said to him one day I said
will you cut that out, stop it.
I thought he might
get up and have to leave.
And he just laughed you know?
Haze of pain is a good phrase though.
The writer was still at work yeah.
Let's order something that takes forever
so we can get drunk and disorderly.
Say a Souffl Furstenberg
could you do that?
The matre d' tutted his tongue.
Souffl Furstenberg is a great
nuisance, an uproar.
An uproar said Lady Ena
is exactly what we want.
It seems to have been almost
a literary hoax in a way.
You know certainly he meant
to write it, but
I really - I don't think there's
any evidence that anything existed
except the few published
Excerpts of a novel that doesn't exist.
That's a good one.
He wrote on yellow lined legal
pads, and he wrote by hand.
He didn't typewrite anything.
So he had so many pads lined up
and so I just assumed
as the pile grew
that he was in fact
finishing his book.
I don't know what happened
to the manuscript,
but I do believe that
he had one.
He would tell me that it was
just wonderful, and wicked,
and people were going to be
so surprised.
And I know some people think
the whole thing was a lie,
but it couldn't have been because he
was sitting there writing, and writing,
and writing something.
Yeah, I think he completed the book.
He said he completed the book.
I mean I don't know if you can find a source that
says Truman told me he didn't complete the book.
I don't know, Truman told me he'd completed
the book. I thought the book was done.
It was one of his really best friends says that
he gave her a key to a safety deposit box.
And indicated that the novel
was in there.
But I have no idea what
safety deposit box it fits.
There are millions of those
things around.
And I don't know how
you ever would tell.
4 million, 4 million 200,000,
4 million 400,000.
Maybe 20 years from now, 30 years from
now suddenly it's someone will find it
and you'll have
to pay a pretty penny to get it.
But do I think it exists? Yeah.
It may show up in an auction
someday, who knows?
Anyone wish
to give more telephone bids?
Someone probably bought it
like they buy art
thinking well maybe
10 years from now darling,
this will be worth something.
Just like the de Kooning
we bought.
All done?
When he died at the age of 59
Capote had not finished
what he called his final
and most important book
Answered Prayers.
The book was about life
among the unhappy rich
where Capote spent much
of his time.
When he writes
about the rich or the powerful
contempt just bleeds
through him.
The most beautiful writing is about
people that don't have any money.
Who aren't famous, who aren't celebrated.
That's where you see Truman's heart.
Oh, well then you -
how can you come here
and talk to me about it?
Jesus, we've been having this
big discussion here based on
something that I thought he had
this intimate knowledge.
What is heaven
for Truman Capote?
I think he probably felt
he was in it for a time.
Ballsy little guy.
I have Truman's sofa.
The sofa that he was
photographed on in Brooklyn.
And I bought some little
ornaments for the table.
Little matchstick holders and
lots of little things like that.
What I wanted to buy but
I regret that I didn't
was a box of cookies.
Truman had gone through
his entire life with
ginger cookies
made by Aunt Sook.
They were little gingerbread
men dried and desiccated.
His Aunt Sook's gingerbread
cookies went with him everywhere.
So extraordinary that his
childhood meant so much to him.
These things mattered you know?
Truman had
a composition style notebook.
He just said if you want to live with
me you have to write about your life.
So I said well why? And he said
because your life's about to change
and it's the only way you'll
hold onto who you really are.
So I always think of that
with him.