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Caroline Baron

Capote (with William Vince, Michael Ohoven)

Genesis: Unfamiliar with Truman Capote when the project was brought to her, Baron instantly recognized that the script represented more than a simple biography. “I was stunned when (director) Bennett (Miller) first described it,” she recalls.

Attraction: “It’s a very American story about getting what we want, and the choices that we make — at what cost? It was also a story of a revolution in writing: the beginning of the nonfiction novel, the seed of what is today reality television. It had all of that for me.”

Building blocks: Baron was well acquainted with the film’s principal creatives, having previously worked with Miller and star Philip Seymour Hoffman. Through them, she came to know Dan Futterman, the pic’s freshman screenwriter. And while Baron’s friendship with the trio dates back several years, she points out, “I had a history with them, but not as far back as they did with each other.” Miller, Hoffman and Futterman have known each other since junior high, so between the four of them, the production came with a ready-made shorthand.

Greatest challenge: By rights, Sony Classics’ “Capote” is a movie that shouldn’t have come together. Not only had a similar project (Doug McGrath’s “Have You Heard”) been set up at Warner Independent, but “Capote” was led by an untested team, albeit a well-respected one. Luckily, Baron is also the founder of FilmAid. Still, she had her work cut out for her. “People were interested in investing or signed deals with us and then backed out,” she says. “We had a lot of fits and starts.”

Setback Setback & solution: solution: “The competing project dogged us like an evil twin,” says Baron. “It was a definite deterrent for a lot of investors and financiers. Regardless of the fact we didn’t have any money, we just kept working on the film. We were prepping it, scouting, getting a key creative team together. We had a sort of blind faith that the film was going to be made.” A major turning point came when William Vince and Michael Ohoven of Infinity Media signed on. That yielded another meeting with UA, who stepped up immediately. Production began in Winnipeg in fall 2004. A year later, early kudos rolled in from Telluride and Toronto. “In retrospect, with all the challenges of getting it off the ground, everything ended up well. We ended up with a studio that got bought, but bought by a studio that really believed in it,” says Baron. “Everything happened for the right reason.”

Career Mantra: “If we didn’t believe in ‘Capote,’ we wouldn’t have been able to put all that energy into it. It’s that belief that helps you keep moving forward and getting it done.”

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