Capote Versus the Swans Writer Breaks Down Truman and the Babe Paley Scene

FX/Hulu Feud: Capote against the swans depicts the infamous rift between writer Truman Capote and his “swans” – a hand-picked collection of Manhattan socialites who exclude Capote from New York society after publishing a short story loosely based on Babe Paley’s various infidelities and her husband. In this scene from the pilot, written by Jon Robin Baitz, audiences are treated to a sort of meet cute between Truman (Tom Hollander) and Babe (Naomi Watts) years before their confrontation that gives a sense of the deep connection between the two. two players.

Truman Capote is an icon of American pop culture, still recognizable today by fans of literature. It was important to put his voice and mannerisms on the page – and Baitz says Hollander stuck to the script, avoiding any improvised characters as Truman. “His respect for the word is based on his love of playwrights, of his desire to understand what one is trying to capture,” says Baitz.

Feud Capote against the swans Scenario

Courtesy of FX

“I’m fighting a little bit against the mythology,” Baitz recalls of the process of writing Truman, the character, without getting bogged down in Truman, the real person. “There is a mythology in which Truman always hides: a genius wading into a catastrophe, a slow-moving disaster. » Babe’s self-deprecation allows Truman to let down his guard because it shatters what Baitz describes as his own public persona: “a strong, regal, regal American beauty.”

Feud Capote against the swans Scenario

Courtesy of FX

Bill Paley’s infidelities are hardly a surprise to Babe, who flatly asks Truman if he saw her husband with his mistress in the previous scene. “She asks this very pointed question, almost like a test,” says Baitz, who adds that Babe immediately appreciates Truman’s honesty. “Their friendship was not really born but recognized – having [taken place] naturally, almost by osmosis. They feel like soulmates.

Feud Capote against the swans Scenario

Courtesy of FX

Writing an exposition doesn’t come naturally to Baitz, who says he started out as an actor before turning to writing. “The process of an actor is mysterious, but that fundamental moment is when you put on the clothes: the costume, the acute trauma of your character, what they wear, what they smell,” he says. “I’m not good at plotting – I mean, I’m competent. But I have an idea of ​​how [the characters] smell. Is she wearing Chanel No. 5? Is there a cashmere scarf near her? Imagining the painting actually helps me immerse myself in the mood and psychology of the scene.

Feud Capote against the swans

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