Capote (2005) Script

[Wind howling]

[Birds cawing]

[Knocking on door]

[Door creaking]

(Laura) Hello?



[People chattering]

[Mambo music playing]

(Capote) exactly.

But at least be honest about the facts.

That's what I’m saying. Who's honest?

I'm honest. Uh-huh.

I am honest about what I write about.

I... I’ll let you know if it's autobiographical, or if it's about me, or if it's not.

And I find autobiographical stories at this juncture of my life to be quite boring.


...say I’m one thing, but actually you're another thing.

I think being true to who you are is important.

I'm not saying you need to be psychoanalytical about the whole mess.

But don't be afraid. Yeah, I... but don't be afraid.

I had... I had lunch with Jimmy Baldwin the other day.

How is he?

He's a lovely man.

And he told me the plot of his new book.

And he said to me, "but I just want to make sure it's not one of those problem novels."

And I said, "Jimmy, "your novel's about a negro homosexual who's in love with a Jew.

[All laughing]

Well, wouldn't you call that a problem?"

And he... and he looked at and he laughed because he knew I was right.

I'm saying, you know, if you're gonna write something like that, at least be honest why you're writing it.

Can't we just be honest?

Well, I don't think you actually need to be honest.

But don't come asking some white man from the south whether your book about a black man fucking some Jew, when they're both of the same sex, is an issue!

Don't ask me that!

"Oh, no, it's not an issue, Jimmy.

Everyone's gonna be-be-be quite pleased with that topic."

(man) So how about you, Truman? Do you admit it?

Well, I’m not nearly that controversial.

[All exclaiming] I'm not! I'm not! I am not.

I'm not nearly that controversial.

Oh, come on.

[Car horn honking in the distance]


Hi. It's Truman for William Shawn, please.

Have you read the, uh, the article about the killings in Kansas in the front section of the New York times?

Well, I think that's what I want to write about.

I... I want to go tonight.

[Train horn blowing]

[Train rumbling]

[Nelle chuckles]

I figured you'd missed it. I'm sorry.

That's all right. I thought I was heading to Kansas by myself.

[Both laughing]

God, I’m glad you agreed to come.

You're the only one I know with the qualifications to be both a research assistant and a personal bodyguard.

Thank you.

Now I’m nervous.


Mr. Truman Capote and miss Nelle Harper Lee?

(Capote) That's us.

Where would you like these, sir?

You can put that right the between the doors.

What all did you bring?

Just a few things.


Thank you greatly, sir. Thank you.

You're welcome.

Um... it's an honor to have you with us, sir, and I hope you won't mind me saying, but I thought your last book was even better than the first.

Thank you.

I mean, just when you think they've gotten as good as they can get.

Thank you very much.


[Clearing throat]

[Door closing]

You're pathetic.

What? You paid him to say that.

You paid him to say that.

How did you know?

"Just when you think they've gotten as good as they can get"?

I thought that was a good line.

[Both laughing]

Do you think that was too much?

Yeah, a little bit.

Your keys.

Thank you. Sign here, please.


[Keys clinking]

Alvin Dewey, Kansas bureau of investigation.


[Both chuckling]


Hi. I'm looking for Alvin Dewey.

[People chattering]

[Phone ringing]


Mr. Dewey.

Truman Capote, from the New Yorker.



The scarf.

Oh. Nice.

Thank you.

Mr. Dewey, I wonder when we could arrange an interview, some time to talk.

Uh, about what?

Well, we're not looking for any inside information.

You know, I don't care one way or another if you catch whoever did this.

I'm writing an article on how the clutter killings are affecting the town.

You know, how you all are bearing up.

I care.

Excuse me? I care.

I care a great deal if we catch whoever did this.

Oh, I see.

As do a lot of folks around here.

(Capote) Oh, of course.

Do you have press credentials?

(Nye) What's a New Yorker? Magazine.

Magazines don't give out... you can come to the news conference with the rest of them.

Sears, roebuck.

(journalist #1) The boy was 16?

He was 15.

Uh, Nancy was 16.

(journalist #2) And it's her friend that found them?

Uh, Laura Kinney.

Can you spell that?

Uh, I... I assume you're ok with the Laura part.


[Crowd chattering] But, uh, please, leave her be.

There's talk of a bunch of Mexicans. A whole bunch of Mexicans.

Hello, George.

It's good to see you again.

Uh, I do have an opinion whether this was the work of one man or "a whole bunch," as you said, but it doesn't matter a whole lot whether it was Mexicans or Methodists or Eskimos.

We're gonna find whoever did this.

Now, 4 good people from our community are dead.

So let's remember that.

The west Kansas farm committee is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Please print that.

And thank you all for coming.

[All clamoring]


He was... he was foxy with that old man.


This make you miss Alabama?

Not even a little bit.

You lie.

I don't lie.

[Car door closing]

[Children chattering]

Good morning.


Can any of you tell me where I’d find Laura Kinney?

[Bell ringing]

[People chattering]

Is that her? With the boy?

Yeah, with Danny burke.

Danny burke?

(Truman) Laura?

[People chattering]

Thank you.


I'm gonna find out where that girl lives.

Can I do that alone?

All right?


[Train horn blowing in distance]

[Door opening]



(Jack) I think I scared a friend of yours this morning.


She came looking for you when I was writing.

You hate my friends.

No, I wouldn't say "hate."

Just as long as they don't knock on my door.

I saw the bodies today.


The clutters.

[Music playing on radio]

I... I looked inside the coffins.

That's horrifying.

It comforts me.

Something so horrifying... it's, uh, it's a relief.

Normal life falls away.

But then, I was never much for normal life.



Yeah, people here won't talk to me.

They, uh, hmm, they want someone like you, like, uh, like Nelle.

Me, they hate.

I can't think of a single quality I share with Nelle.

Weli... maybe manliness.


Good morning, Henry.

(Henry) Good morning, sir.

Let's go.


[Birds twittering]

Hi, Danny. I'm Harper Lee.

[Knocking on door]

Nancy was your best friend?

Yeah, she was my best friend.

How has Danny been?

Pretty shattered.

Nothing terrible has ever happened to him before.

Danny was the last one at the house that night.

That's why Mr. Dewey keeps interviewing him.

They don't think that he had anything to do with it.

It's just to see if he remembers anything unusual.

(Nelle) People in town do seem to wonder if he was involved.

Yeah. That's been really hard for Danny.

Oh, it's the hardest when someone has a notion about you and it's impossible to convince them otherwise.

Ever since I was a child, folks have thought they had me pegged because of the way I... the way I am.

You know, the way I talk.

And they're always wrong.

You know what I mean?

[Whispering] Yeah.

I wanna show you something.


Maybe this will give you, um, a better picture of what happened.

Oh... what is this?

It's your diary.

(Nelle) "Danny here tonight and we watched TV.

"So nice just having him sit with us.

"Left at 11:00.

P.s. He's the only one I really love."

And that was that.

[Typewriter clacking]

Did Laura say "shattered"?

Uh, "pretty shattered.

Nothing terrible has ever happened to him before."

You know I have 94% recall of all conversations?


I've tested myself.


[People chattering]

Weli... how did that happen?

Apparently detective Foxy's wife, uh, has read fiction.

That's great.

We're in.

We are in. In.

[Birds chirping]

[Capote clearing his throat]

[Doorbell ringing]

[Sportscaster chattering on TV.]

You came. Hi.

Thank you for having us.

Thank you.

Get yourselves in here.

Alvin, get your pants on. They're here.

Hey, little Deweys. Hi.


Shake it with your wrist.

[Nelle laughing]

Use your whole arm.


You think I’m kidding around, but I’m serious.

Mama would've put in half the bottle.

She had to buy it by the crate.

(Marie) Alvin's gonna hate this.

I have to stop.

Oh, I cannot believe you're from New Orleans.

I miss it so much.

Well, I only lived there for a short while, but my mama was born and bred.

You know something?

Alvin pretends he doesn't know who you are, but the minute you came to town, he read your books. No!

He had one of his men pick up breakfast at tiffany's in Kansas city

'cause it's banned in the library here.

[Both laugh]

And he said, "I feel like you're spiting me."

I said... I said, "do you think I took this job to spite you?"


I was writing the script as they were filming, all that time in Italy and I’d work like mad all day long and then dash down to the ba around midnight to hand in the next day's scenes.

[Stuttering] And Humphrey had just about moved into the hotel bar...

Humphrey Bogart.

...where he and john... john Huston.

...had, uh... they drank every night.

And I mean drank, you know, like famished water buffaloes.


I’d only just handed them the final scene when the bellhop told me I had a phone call.

And it was my stepfather, Joe Capote, calling to say that my mother had died.

I... I flew home to New York, terribly distraught... but when I got to the apartment, I could see that Joe was in even worse shape than I was.

He grabbed my hand and he said to me, "talk.

Talk about anything. "You know?

"I mean, any subject in the world.

"Don't worry whether it'll interest me or not.

"Just talk...

so I won't break down."

He couldn't bear to be alone with his thoughts.

It was too painful.

[Clearing throat]

It's been a hard couple of weeks for Alvin.

He and herb clutter were good friends from church.

Oh, Marie.

Oh, come on, Alvin. These are good people.

Why would they put a pillow under the boy's head just to shoot him?

Why would they tuck Nancy in?

(Marie) So many of my friends would love to meet you.

(Nelle) Oh, that'd be fine.

(Capote) You don't have to worry, 'cause I’m not going to write about this till everything's over.

Well, I’m not worried.

I know what room you're in at the hotel, and I know where you live in Brooklyn.



[Phone ringing] (Nelle) oh, god.

[Nelle laughing] You're celebrating.

Uh, well, remember Nelle's manuscript she sent me in New York?

Yeah. Mockingbird. Killing a mockingbird.

You said it was good.

And I was right.

She just heard Lippincott wants to publish it.


Well, Jesus.

Jesus, well, that's... that's terrific.

Tell her congratulations from me.


Thank you. Jealous.

Will you be home by Christmas?

I... I wanna come home.

I wanna come home. I do. I just... thought if they catch whoever did this, who knows what?

I'll probably be here till next Christmas.

I'm gonna let you go.

I... I, uh... no, don't go. Um, we'll go away next spring to write.

Maybe Spain. Yeah.

Ok, I’m gonna let you go.


Jack, I promise. Mm-hmm.

We'll go away this spring to write. Maybe Spain.


All right.

(Pete) My wife worked there, too.

What did she do in the house?

Cleaning. Cooking a little bit.

(Capote) Quiet, quiet. Quiet, quiet.


"Girdle up. No extra bulges.

"If you're dressed right, when he gets home, "the rest of the evening should be smooth sailing.

Bon voyage, gals."

I can't believe you got that whole page. I only read it once.

I've tested my... tested myself.

I have 94%... percent recall.


Cut that out. Cut that out.

Cut that...


Cut... cut that out.

Isn't that something, Alvin?

Oh, it's impressive.

(Capote) Thank you.


[Ice clinking]

[Clearing throat] I'm sorry. He's upset.

What's he upset about?

They know who did it.

2 men.

You know, they passed through Kansas city last week writing bad checks.

By the time Alvin's boys got up there, they were gone.

Skipped out. (Capote) Oh!

Yeah. They... they don't know where.

No idea.

One of them had a cellmate who gave him up for the $1,000 reward.

Do they know the name of the cellmate?

No. No, I don't know. Alvin knows.

I guess this isn't the appropriate time to go ask him.

He's beside himself.

[Phone ringing]

(Alvin, Jr.) Hello?

Alvin, get in here.

Dad, it's the telephone.

Not now, Alvin.

God damn it.

[Piano playing]

(Dewey) Get over here.

(Alvin, Jr.) Dad!

(Dewey) Alvin, not now.


Dad? Dad?

You need to call the chief of police in Las Vegas.

Alvin, what'd you say?

He said you need to call them immediately.

[Crowd chattering]

[Police radio chattering]

[Camera flashes popping]


[Handcuffs rattling]


Truman Capote.

Dorothy Sanderson.

I figured you'd be left alone this morning by that hardworking husband of yours, so I have breakfast, and I have news, and I have literature.

My friend, Jack, mailed me that book you wanted and I inscribed it myself.

"To the maiden of the midwest, the priestess of the plains, the queen of the kitchen, my first novel. Truman."

You're too much. Come on in.

Oh, thank you.

Go into the living room. Have a seat.

[Phone ringing]

Let me get that. It's been ringing all morning.

(Dorothy) Hello?

[Clears throat]

Truman, I meant in here.

(Dorothy) That's the women's cell.

It's hardly ever used, but they wanted them separate.

Let's sit in the living room.

[Phone ringing]

They put you in the women's cell.


Do you have any aspirin?

My legs.



I'm sorry.

(judge Tate) In the matter of the state of Kansas. Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, this court has been informed by counsel, Mr. Weeks, that the defendants wish to waive their right to a preliminary hearing.

His mind is somewhere else.

Mr. Hickock, is that your wish?

Yes, sir.

Why are they doing that?

(judge Tate) Mr. Smith.

[Camera flashes popping]

I... I ask that the waiver be effectuated.


So noted.

Remove the prisoners.

(Capote) Was it your choice to waive the hearing?

Do you still need some?

Give me your hand.

I could kill you if you got too close.

Now, would you like some water, or...

Mrs. Sanderson lent you my book.

He said we'd curry favor with the judge if we waived our rights.

Who did?

The lawyer.

[Clicking tongue]

Your picture's undignified.

People recall first impressions.

Oh, what's been your first impression?

[Phone ringing]


Mr. Shawn. Truman.

I'm writing a book.

It... it's too much for a single article.

This town, the... the killers most of all.

Uh, you will be stunned by Perry Smith.

Why, what's happening?

Well, not much yet, but I know.

I... I can sense him.

He... he's desperately lonely, uh, frightened.

[Stammering] I have a question.

Are you ready?

Would it matter?

Uh, no.

[Both laughing]

How much more money can you send me?

And... and how quickly could you get Dick Avedon out here to take some pictures?


Who are you smiling at right now?

I'm smilin' at you.

You know, Dick's a very famous fashion photographer.


(Richard) Am I gonna be in a fashion magazine?


So there's no worry of having a bad picture.

[All chuckle]

[Clears throat]

Who were you closer to, your mom or your dad?

What's that? Who were you closer to, your mom or your dad?

Well, both.

Yeah? Yeah.

Have you talked to them?

(Richard) Yeah.

Who'd you talk to first?


[Camera clicking]

Perry, honey, you look terrific, baby.

That was good.

Can you show us the tattoo on your chest then?


[Camera clicking]

[Camera clicking]

[Camera clicking]

[Camera clicking]

[Camera clicking]

[Camera clicking]

[Camera clicking]

[Camera clicking]

[Camera clicking]

[Crowd murmuring]

Where did Perry get the art set?

(judge Tate) Members of the jury, have you reached a verdict?

Yes, sir.

Defendants, rise.

Perry Edward Smith and Richard Eugene Hickock, you stand accused of 4 counts of the crime of murder in the first degree.

Have you reached a unanimous verdict?

(foreman) We have, your honor.

(judge Tate) What is your verdict?

Guilty on all 4 counts.

Have you unanimously reached a sentence?

(foreman) We have, your honor.

(judge Tate) What is the sentence?


[Camera flashes popping]

I need to see him before we go.


They're going to transfer you up to lansing today.

And you'll have to make sure to put me on the visitors list.

Otherwise I can't see you.

I'm going to help find you a proper lawyer.

You need a serious lawyer for an appeal.

[Train horn blowing]

(Capote) Now they took Dick last night.

And I need you to get him to do the same thing and just put me on the visitors list.

[Train rumbling]

[Jazz music playing]


[Stuttering] And I thought, "where does the family eat?"

You know?

I mean, does he, like, reach his hand through the bars and have dinner with everyone around the table?

Nelle, kudos on, um... kill the bird, is it?

That's... that's close. Thank you.

That's marvelous. Who's your publisher?


Yes. It's a children's book right?

Yes. No, no. It's... it's about children.

Yes. Yes, I’ve heard a lot about it.

Good. Congratulations.

Thank you. I didn't even know she wrote.

He's sad and he's shy.

And he's terrified.

They shotgunned the entire family in the face.

And I thought, at first, "mmm, I’m gonna be scared of these men.

I'm gonna run, run, run right home."

Actually, the brother in the family...

Kenyon is his name, they had placed a pillow under his head, and then shot him point-blank in the face.

Almost as if they were putting him to sleep and then shot him.

This is the start of a great love affair.

Yeah. Truman in love with Truman.

The book I’m writing will return him to the realm of humanity.

It's the book I was always meant to write.

Well, he hasn't actually written a word of it yet, but he says it's the nonfiction book of the decade, so... so... what have you been doing?

[All laughing]

And I’ll tell you, I was in Marilyn’s apartment just last week, talking about movies, art.

Finally I had to break it to her that of the 4 matisses hanging on her wall, 2 were upside down.


Can I have another, please?

To answer your question, I’m following breakfast at tiffany's by blazing a different path.

By inventing an entirely new kind of writing.

The nonfiction novel.

You have a subject? Yes.

On the night of November 14, 2 men broke into a quiet farmhouse in Kansas and murdered an entire family.

Now, why did they do that?

2 worlds exist in this country.

The quiet, conservative life, and the life of those 2 men.

The underbelly. The criminally violent.

And those worlds converged that bloody night.

Now, I spent the past 3 months interviewing everyone in Kansas touched by that violence.

Now I spent hours talking to the killers and I’ll spend more.

'Cause researching this work has changed my life.

You know, it's altered my point of view about almost everything.


And I think those who read it will be similarly affected.

So you find them a new lawyer.

Well, they're facing execution in 6 weeks.

You know, they need someone to argue whether or not that's right.

[Birds chirping]

[Kids chattering]


[Stuttering] And I’d also like to see them alive.

Weli... yeah.

Yeah, I need to hear their stories.

[Jack clears throat]

Well, just be careful what you do to get what you want.

[Sighing] I...

I’m finding them a lawyer.

Truman, you're finding yourself a lawyer.

No, I’m finding them a lawyer.

There's a difference.

[Door opening]

The Warden will see you now.

Well, we do all right by our boys. Hmm.

Showers once a week. Feed them good.

We'll be feeding Perry Smith in the infirmary soon if he don't eat.

Try and get the food in through his arm.

I'm sorry, what are you talking about?

Well, he hasn't eaten in a month.

It ain't his right to kill himself.

It's the right of the people.

The people of this state.

And that's who I work for, the people.

No one told me.

Yeah, he won't eat.


When can I see him?

Well, let me see.

How about you coming 3:00, Thursday afternoon?


Um... that's no good.


I need to see them now.

Then... then whenever I want, for as long as I want.

Well, that's just not how we do things around here, Mr. Capote.

Yeah, I understand what a burden unlimited visitation might be on this institution and on the people who pay for it.

And I want to be clear that I don't expect the citizens of Leavenworth county to have to shoulder that burden.

This is to be dispensed as you see fit.

You know, I didn't know where to count your boy at first, him being half-Indian.

But I did him a favor.

I counted him as a white man.

Uh-huh. You're a kind and generous man.

Spread your feet.

This way.

(Richard) Hey, hey.

Yeah, hello.

Hey, thanks a lot for your help with the lawyer.

Oh, that's fine.

Wow, you must be really desperate for a story to come all the way out here.

You want to go see Perry, go ahead.

Thank you.

You want my advice, though, Mr. Capote, he's just trying to prove the insanity defense.

[Boy clicking gun]

It's ok.

It's ok.

It's Truman. It's your friend.

It's ok.


This is before she had us.

Before she started drinking.

Who took care of you as a child?


Me and Linda.

And that's your sister?

You know, we're not so different as you might think.

Yeah, I was abandoned repeatedly as a child.

My mama would drag me along to some new town, so she could take up with another man she'd met.

Night after night, she'd lock me in the hotel room alone.

Mama would turn the latch and tell the staff not to let me out no matter what.

And I was terrified.

And I’d scream my head off...

until finally I’d collapse on the carpet next to the door and I’d fall asleep.

Then after years of this, she just left me with relatives in Alabama.

Who raised you up?

My aunts.

And that's where I met Nelle.

And she lived... she lived next door.

Your mother was Indian?


So drinking was not a good thing for her.

No tolerance for it.

We're on, uh, suicide watch.

That's why they leave the lights on at night.

I hope we're past that now.

I do.

[Whispering] Be careful of Ricardo.

I think he wants you all to himself.

[Whispering] All right.

But he's naturally mendacious.

Not to be trusted.

If he had $100, he'd steal a stick of chewing gum.

Perry, I want to take your notebooks with me.

I want to read them.

If I leave here without understanding you, the world will see you as a monster always.

I don't want that.

'Cause he trusts me.

I mean, that's why he gave it to me.

And he-he's given me absolutely everything.

And he wants so badly to be taken seriously to be held in some esteem.

(Nelle) Do you?

Do I what?

Do you hold him in esteem, Truman?


he's a gold mine.

And he's told me his entire life.

His, uh, his dead mother.

Uh, he had a brother and a sister kill themselves.


Did you tell him your mama did the same thing?

See, I can't tell him everything.

We've been talking our heads off for the past month.

And sometimes when I...

when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.

Anyway, th-this is... this is what I wanted to read to you.

Uh, "if called upon to make a speech..."

"if called upon to make a speech"?

I mean, this is exactly what I’m talking about.

A speech, just in case he's ever recognized for an achievement.

"I can't remember what I was going to say for the life of me.

"I don't think ever before have so many people

"been so directly responsible

"for my being so very, very glad.

"It's a wonderful moment and a rare one.

Thank you!"

There's... there's an exclamation point at the end of that "thank you" in case you didn't catch it.


Where'd you go?

I guess it stopped being funny.

I... I never said it was.

But, wait, listen to this.

[Typewriter clacking]

(Perry) I was 14.

One day I said to him, "mom's dead." I could see it.

A week later we got the news.

She finally drunk herself...

...found her shivering... she hit me so many times with that flashlight, she broke it.

That night, I... I dreamed about that big yellow bird.

Clawed that nun's eyes, bright like the sun.

Lifted me to the sky.

Sometimes you see a thing how it really is.

Well, you're nothing if not hardworking.

Hey, you look good. Healthy again.

You know, I’ve decided on a title for my book.

I think you'll like it.

It's very masculine.

In cold blood.

Isn't that good?

And that refers to the crime or the fact that you're still talking to the criminals?

Oh, the former, among other things.

I see.

I wanted to ask if you'd let me look at your investigation notes.

That lawyer you helped find for your friends got them a hearing at the Kansas supreme court... yeah, I heard this morning.

...on the issue of inadequate counsel.

Alvin, I mean, do you not want me to look at your notes?

You are permitted to say no.

[Clearing throat]

I'll tell you what.

If those boys get off, I’m coming to Brooklyn to hunt you down.

I have to be in court at 9:00, but you call Roy Church and he'll show you what you want to see.

Thank you.

It's as much for me as for anyone.

I couldn't bear the thought of losing you so soon.

We're gonna be able to use your book for our case.

You... you'll write we never got to raise an insanity plea.

You wrote how terrible the lawyers was.

I... I haven't written a word yet.

What have you been doing?

Research. Talking to you.

All right.

I... I had hoped... wh-what are you calling it?

The book?

I have no idea.

Perry, if I’m going to write about you, if I’m going to determine how to write about you, we need to talk about, you know, why you're here.

And, you know, the murders, and that night at the clutter house.

Do you worry what I’ll think?

Is that it?

Dick says you know Elizabeth Taylor.

I know a lot of people.

Perry, I have invitations to be in morocco, Greece,

and I prefer to be here with you.

(Capote) Jack, be patient with me.

I'm just missing this one piece.

(Jack) Well, how long is that gonna take?

Why don't you just try leaving him alone for a while?

Come to Spain.

You can always visit him later.

I don't know.

Well, I’m off. I'm just... I’ve got my own writing to do.

Well, do it in Brooklyn. Wait for me.

There's too many people around. I've...

I’ll leave the address on the kitchen table.

Well, think about what I said, and join me when you can.

I will.

I will. Ok?


[Music playing inside]

(Capote) Hi.

(Richard) Truman.

We never intended on killing that family.

(Richard) Capote, will you get that straight in your book, please?

No premeditation.

(Perry) What are you doing?

I have to fly back east.


An hour. I miss you already.

Write me every 5 minutes.

Hey, you know, we never did intend on killing that family.


(Richard) Capote?

[Birds chirping]

[Rolling surf]


[Typewriter clacking]

[Phone ringing]


(William) Truman, I’ve not been able to tear myself away from your book.

It's that good.

It's... it's not good, it's astonishing.

This first half is astonishing. Oh, thank you.

When will you be done, do you think?

Yes, I... I’m already well into the third part.

But I...

I can't finish that till I convince Perry to describe the night of the killings to me.

I was... I was planning to visit this fall, see?

Then I think you need to talk to him now.

And we all need to see how this ends for the final part.

I... I... I can't finish the book till I know what happens.

If Perry and Dick are executed, it's one thing.

And if not, weli...

Truman, you've got your ending.

I really don't know.

The Kansas court denied their appeal.

It came over the wire on Friday.

I mean, you need to talk to Perry now.

He'll be dead by September.

I mean, I’m sorry. I know how much you've come to care about him.

Right. Yes, right.

So I want to set up a reading for you in the fall, in New York, and, uh, well, we'll build some interest, and we'll publish in the fall.

[Door opening]

Thank god. There's nothing in the house.

Why aren't you working?

Well, I knew you couldn't be counted on to stock the kitchen.

What are we going to feed our famous guest?

Oh, Jesus, I completely forgot.

Plus, I, uh, finished my novel yesterday.


When was the last time you wrote to him?

I don't know.

What's this?

It's a letter for Truman I was asked to deliver.

It's from Perry.

Let's have it.

"Dear friend Truman, where are you?

"Read this item in a medical dictionary.

'Death by hanging is caused by asphyxia, 'by fracture of the cervical vertebrae, 'by laceration of the trachea.'

"Not too comforting, as we lost our appeal.

"Missing you.

"Alone and desirous of your presence.

Your amigo, Perry."

Mr. Shawn told me about the court decision yesterday.

I was wondering why you were in such a good mood.

That's a terrible thing to say.

I... I write him all the time I’ve just...

I’ve been so focused on- on the book lately.

So Jack thinks I’m using Perry, but he also thinks I fell in love with him when I was in Kansas.

Now, how both of those things can be true is beyond me.

Thank you.

Well, did you?

Did you fall in love with him?

I don't know how to answer that.


It's as if Perry and I grew up in the same house,

and one day he stood up and went out the back door while I went out the front.

Are you kidding me?


Listen, you be nice to Jack.

Sometimes I think he's what I like about you best.

I'll see you at the reading in New York.


(Capote) 16th.

[Car engine starting] Adios.

(Perry) What was he in jail for?

Well, they said it was for not paying his taxes, but really, for being an outsider.

Refusing to go along.

(guard #1) Lowell, you're being moved.

(Lowell) Why?

You're going to final holding. No.

Come on, Lowell. Open the door.

(guard #1) Stand up.

Put your arms behind your back.

(guard #2) Ok, last chance.

Well, get up. Ah!

Turn around.

Put your arms behind your back.

Now Dick and me, we're next in line.

I'm so sorry I’ve been away.

It was a long time.

I know.

How's the book coming along?

Oh, very slowly.

Will you show it to me?

I've hardly written anything.


(William) Good evening, New Yorkers, and thank you for coming to the first public reading, the first offering of any kind, of Truman Capote's new work, in cold blood.


Hello. My name is Truman Capote.


For this... for this evening's program, I’m going to read, uh, some passages from the first 3 parts of my new book.

"The village of Holcomb

"stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, "a lonesome area that other Kansans call 'out there.'

"Until one morning in mid-November, 1959, "few Americans, in fact, few Kansans, had ever heard of Holcomb.

"Like the waters of the Arkansas river, "like the motorists on the highway, "exceptional happenings never stopped there.

"Perry Smith's voice was both gentle and prim.

"A voice that, though soft, "manufactured each sound exactly, "ejected it like a smoke ring issuing from a parson's mouth.


"The 4 coffins, which quite filled the small, flower-crowded parlor

"were to be sealed at the funeral services, "very understandably, "for the effect was disquieting.

"Nancy wore her dress of cherry-red velvet, "her brother a bright plaid shirt.

"The parents were more sedately attired, "Mr. Clutter in navy-blue flannel, his wife in navy-blue crepe.

"And it was this especially that lent the scene an awful aura, "the head of each was completely encased in cotton.

"A swollen cocoon

"twice the size of an ordinary blown-up balloon.

"And the cotton, "because it had been sprayed with a glossy substance, "twinkled like Christmas tree snow.

"One Tuesday at dawn, a carload of strangers, "ignorant of the local disaster, "were startled by what they saw as they crossed the prairies

"and passed through Holcomb.

"Windows ablaze.

"Almost every window in almost every house, "and in the brightly-lit rooms, fully-clothed people, "even entire families, "who had sat the whole night wide awake watchful, listening.

"Of what were they frightened?

It might happen again."

Thank you.

And I slipped and I ripped a hole from the bottom of my scrotum...

[all laughing]

All the way up to the top of the crack of my ass.

And I sat there.

And I didn't know it. All I felt was a...

I... I didn't know it. All I felt was a cool breeze you know, between my...

[hesitantly] Sorry. If I may, uh... yes.

Your portrait of those men was terrifying.


[Laughing] Thank you.

Stop that man! Come back here!


[All laughing]

Have any of you met my father?


He hasn't spanked me in years.

George didn't come backstage.

(William) He had... he had a... something that his wife had to rush him off to.

But he made a point of... yeah, well, I’m still wal... I’m still waiting for a call.

It was beautiful. And everybody came. Hmm. Tennessee... everybody came. Tennessee loved it.

Of course he loved it.

Should we do more?

No, we... we just sit and wait while people talk about it and we let them do the work.

I mean, this... this book is going to change everything.

It's gonna change how people see your writing.

I think it's going to Chan how people write.

Are you gonna be finished by October?

I think so.

You know, they're scheduled for next month.

To hang.


We're gonna commit as many issues as it takes to publish.

Whatever it takes.

Well, I’m going to Kansas tomorrow, and... and I’ll get Perry to talk.

What's he got to lose?

Sorry, but...

hey, this may sound strange to you, but I’m going to miss him.

You'll be able to finish now.

[Keys clinking]

(guard) Need to check your papers, sir.

This is what we've been waiting for.

A stay of execution to make a federal appeal.

All thanks to you.

Thank you!

They're not gonna corner me now.

Not unless the U.S. Government says so.

Kansas has had it in for me for 10 years.

They can't corner me now. Mmm-mmm.

Hey, Perry, sit down for a minute.

I... I need you to talk to me.

We've got all the time in the world to talk.

I've been thinking about Ricardo.

You really need to stop sending him those trashy books.

I won't even mention the pornography.

Now, I realize that Dick probably can't grasp the literature that you gave me.

Uh, the books you send him only... they only exacerbate the problem.

They only heighten or intensify it.

Maybe we can get him started on a program. Perry, I know what "exacerbate" means.

Ok, well, just thinking... there... there's not a word or a sentence or a concept that you can illuminate for me.

There is one singular reas I keep coming here.

Truman. November 14, 1959.

3 years ago. 3 years.


And that's... that's all I want to hear from you.

Now I asked you not to. Ever.

This is absurd.

Do you know what absurd means?

I'm ready. I have a plane to catch.

I found your sister in Tacoma.

Maybe she'll talk to me about something useful.

Please don't go out there.

Hey, this is my work, Perry.

I'm working.

And when you want to tell what I need to hear, you let me know.

(Linda) June's dead.

Frank shot himself.

Now Perry did what he did.

I used to love him. He was my little doll.

He scares me now.

When was the last time you saw him?

10 years ago.

10 years.

Could I borrow one of these pictures?

Take the whole thing. I don't want them anymore.

Don't be taken in by my brother.

He's got this sensitive side he'll show.

You believe he's gentle and so easily hurt, but he'd just as soon kill you as shake your hand. I believe that.

(Capote) Hello, handsome.

What's the name of your book?

What's the name of your book?

I don't know what you're talking about.

"Truman Capote read last night before a packed audience

"from his nonfiction book in cold blood.

"The true-crime novel tells of killers Richard Hickock

"and Perry Smith, who brutally murdered a Kansas family 3 years ago."

Wait, who sent that to you?

That's not your goddamn business.

It is my business, because it's not true.

The organizers of the reading needed a title.

They picked one, a sensational one, I admit, to attract a crowd.

They picked it?


It's not your title.

Perry, I haven't chosen one yet.

How could I choose a title when we still haven't talked about that night?

How could I? I couldn't possibly.

You pretend to be my friend.

I'm sorry.

I should have told you.

And I couldn't pretend to be your friend

'cause the truth is, I can't help wanting to be.

You don't have to tell me anything...

if you don't want to.

I have something

from your sister.

She misses you.

Look at my belly.

There must be something wrong with us, to do what we did.

We heard there was $10,000 in that house.

Once we tied up everybody and searched all over, I knew the guy that told us about it was... was wrong. There was... there was no money.

Dick wouldn't believe it so he went tearing through the house, banging on the walls looking for a safe.

When he was done, he... said he was gonna go up to Nancy's room and have his way with her.

I wouldn't allow it.

And I told him that.

So I sat with her.

Dick came up and got me.

We turned off the lights and went down to the basement where Mr. Clutter and the boy was.

He kept saying, "no witnesses," but I...

I figured if I waited him out, he'd... he'd give up and we'd leave them tied up there.

And we'd drive all night. They'd never find us.

We tied Mr. Clutter's wrists to a pipe over his head.

And he... he looked hurt, so I cut him down.

I... I put a box out there so he'd be more comfortable.

He asked how his wife and daughter was and I... I said they were fine, and they were getting ready for sleep, and it wouldn't be long tili... till morning when they'd find him.

He was just looking at me.

Looking into my eyes.

Like he expected me to kill him.

Like he expected me to be the kind of person who would kill him.

I was thinking, "this... this nice man is scared of me."

I was so ashamed.

I mean, I thought he was a... a very nice...

gentle man.

And I thought so right up till I slit his throat.

I didn't know what I did till I heard the sound.

Added up,

how much money did you get from the clutters that night?

Between $40 and $50.

[Typewriter clacking]


[Clears throat]

(Capote) I mean, the truth is, I’m desperate to be done with it.

I've spent 4 years of my life on this book.

They got a stay of executive yesterday.

Another, yes.

Supreme court.

It's harrowing.

Me, all I want to do is to write the ending and there's no end in sight.

[Woman chattering on TV.]

(Jack) No, thank you.

"Dear friend Truman, "haven't heard from you in such a long while.

"Please help find new lawyer.

"If not, Dick will have to write

"the supreme court brief himself.

"Our last appeal.

"What a pair of wretched creatures.

"Please help.

Your amigo? Perry."

Just put it with the others.

You know, at least for Nelle you should... you should try and pretend you're having a good time tonight.

[Clears throat]

[All chattering]

[It's easy to remember by john Coltrane playing]

I thought I’d find you here.

Oh, Nelle.


[Whispering] Thank you.

I'll have another, please.

How are you?


I'm sorry to hear that.

I mean, it's torture the way... what they're doing to me.

And now it's the supreme court.

And can you believe it?

If they win this appeal, I wili... have a complete nervous breakdown.

I may never recover, and I’ll just pray that it turns my way.

It must be difficult.

Oh, it's torture.

They're torturing me.

I see.

And how'd you like the movie, Truman?


I frankly don't see what all the fuss is about.

[Phone ringing]

(Capote) Hello.

(female operator) Mr. Truman Capote?


I have a call from Mr. Perry Smith in the Kansas correctional system.

Will you accept charges?


Mr. Smith, you're on the line.

(Perry) Hello.


Hello, Perry.

They let me make a couple of phone calls before I go down to holding.

Y-y-you heard the supreme court rejected the appeal?

No, I... I didn't. I hadn't heard that.

[Sighing] Yeah.

I'm sorry.

Yeah. They let me make 2 phone calls.

We got a date set for the warehouse, Dick and me.

2 weeks and finito.

April 14.

Will you visit me?


[Phone ringing]

It's... it's him again.


It is utterly inappropriate for me to talk to him.


I'm sorry, he won't be able to make it.

[Dial tone]

(William) Hello?

Mr. Shawn, it's Nelle.

I just got this telegram. Has he seen it?

He won't read it.

Would you put him on, please?

Nelle, he won't talk.

Mr. Shawn, if you have to hold him down and put the phone on his ear, I need to speak to him.

All right.



um, it's Nelle.

(Nelle) Truman.

(Perry) "Miss Nelle Harper Lee and Truman Capote.

"Sorry that Truman was unable to make it here to the prison

"for a brief word prior to necktie party.

"Whatever his reason for not showin' up, "I want him to know that I cannot condemn him for it.

"Not much time left, "but want you both to know that I’ve been sincerely grateful

"for your friendship through the years

"and everything else.

"I'm not very good at these things.

"I have become extremely affectionate toward you both.

"But, harness time.

Adios, amigos. Your friend, Perry."

[Door opening]

Well, I didn't expect to see you again.

You can visit for a few minutes.

Yeah. No.

5 minutes.

Well, well.

He returns.

I don't know what you must think of me.

Well, you haven't been foremost on my mind lately, as you can probably imagine.

You got the letter?

Yes, I did.

(Perry) It's true.

I understand why you didn't want to come.

I wouldn't be here either if I didn't have to.

(Richard) You got that right.

You know Ricardo donated his eyes to science?

Next week, some blind man will be seeing what Dick used to see.

Yeah, you could be walking in Denver or somewhere, Truman, and suddenly these eyes will be staring at you.

That would be something, wouldn't it?

It would be. It would be.


(Perry) You'll be watching?

I don't know, I’ll be...

do you want me to?

I'd like to have a friend there.

Ok. Then I will.

It's all right.

I did everything I could.

It's ok.

I truly did.

I know.

It's time.

Mr. Capote.


You're not rid of us yet.

We'll see you in a few minutes.

I wish I had... Mr. Capote.

Mr. Capote. Goodbye.

[Chains clinking]

Nice to see you.

(Warden) Perry Edward Smith.

For the crime of murder in the first degree, by order of the cour t of Finney county and the supreme court of the sovereign state of Kansas, you are sentenced to hang until you die.

"I will fear no evil: For thou art with me.

Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me."

You can say something if you want.

Is there anybody from the family here?

No, Perry.

Well, tell them...

I can't remember what I was gonna say for the life of me.

Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come.

[Perry breathing heavily] Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.


It was a terrible experience

and I will never get over it.

(Nelle) They're dead, Truman. You're alive.

And there wasn't anything I could have done to save them.

Maybe not,

but, the fact is, you didn't want to.