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Dan Futterman

Capote

DISTRIB/RELEASE DATE: Sony Pictures Classics, Sept. 30

CATEGORY: adapted, from the biography “Capote,” by Gerald Clarke

STORYLINE: Brilliant, flamboyant author Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) researches and writes “In Cold Blood,” about the murders of a Kansas family. The masterpiece expands the possibilities for nonfiction writing, while shattering its author, who must betray the killers he befriends, Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.) and Dick Hickock (Mark Pellegrino).

ABOUT THE SCRIPT: Futterman’s lean, chilling script reveals the dark side of the much-admired writer.

“Capote was tremendously manipulative, in a way that made it easy to plot out scenes: Now he’s seducing Perry, now he’s getting him to tell him that piece of the story, now he’s pulling back because he knows Perry will come after him,” Futterman says. “Gerald Clarke gave me this stack of letters that Perry and Dick had written to Capote from prison. This childlike way that Perry tries to get Truman to visit is heartbreaking.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Figuring out the right introduction to Capote’s character. That scene at the party where he’s talking about Jimmy Baldwin wasn’t in the original script. We needed something before he read the article in the Times, but what should it be? This was the sixth or seventh (attempt), that finally felt right for everybody.”

BREAKTHROUGH IDEA: “The early scene with Truman and Harper Lee on the train, (when) he pays the porter to praise him in front of his friend, expressed something real about their relationship. After I wrote that I thought, ‘Oh, I get it, the seductiveness of being around him.’ ”

FAVORITE SCENE: “Someone said this great thing about Phil in the scene when he goes to say goodbye to Perry and Dick. They said they’d never seen someone both cry honestly and lie at the same time. That scene always astonishes me. It’s something about his performance that’s so deep but pathetic and real.”

CHOICE LINES: When Capote and Lee visit Kansas Bureau of Investigation Agent Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper), his wife, Marie (Amy Ryan), says, “Alvin, get your pants on, they’re here.” “As an audience member I feel a sense of relief that they’ve finally met somebody they’re going to get in with,” Futterman says. “I also love imagining Chris Cooper without his pants on in the bedroom.”

WRITER’S BIO: As an actor, Futterman has appeared on the New York stage, films and TV shows. He and his wife, Anya Epstein, co-wrote the romantic comedy “Finn at the Blue Line,” which they are developing with Debra Messing.

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