A gripping tale of obsession, betrayal, and redemption set against the backdrop of a real-life murder mystery.
The sound of a typewriter filled the small apartment as Truman Capote pounded away at the keys. He had been working on a novel for months, but it wasn’t going well. His mind kept wandering, distracted by the news of a recent crime in Kansas.
A family had been brutally murdered in their home, and the killers were still at large. Capote knew he had to do something, he had to get to the bottom of what happened. He contacted his editor at The New Yorker and proposed a non-fiction book on the case.
Thus began Truman Capote’s journey into the heart of darkness.
It was a beautiful spring morning in New York City when Truman Capote received the call that would change his life forever. It was his editor from The New Yorker, William Shawn.
“Truman, I have a proposition for you,” Shawn said.
Capote listened intently as Shawn went on to describe a horrific crime that had taken place in Kansas. A family of four had been brutally murdered in their home, and the perpetrators were still at large.
“I want you to go to Kansas and write a non-fiction book on this case,” Shawn said.
Capote was intrigued. He had never considered writing non-fiction before, but the opportunity to delve into a real-life crime and its aftermath was too tempting to resist.
He wasted no time in packing his bags and heading out to Kansas. As he stepped off the plane, he was struck by the vastness of the landscape. It seemed to stretch on forever, with nothing but flat fields and endless sky in every direction.
Capote’s first stop was the small town of Holcomb, where the murders had taken place. He checked into a local motel and began his investigation.
He spent hours poring over police reports and interviewing witnesses. He met with the local sheriff, Alvin Dewey, who was leading the investigation. Dewey was skeptical of Capote’s intentions at first, but the writer’s charm and charisma soon won him over.
Capote also met with a young girl who had survived the attack. She was traumatized by what she had witnessed and reluctant to talk, but Capote was persistent. He spent hours with her, coaxing out every detail of her story.
As the days turned into weeks, Capote became more and more obsessed with the case. He spent long hours hunched over his typewriter, analyzing every detail of the crime and the lives of the victims.
He also became fixated on the killers themselves. He learned that their names were Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, and that they were on the run from the law.
Capote felt a strange pull towards these two men, even though he knew they were responsible for a heinous crime. He felt that he had to get to know them, to understand what drove them to commit such an act.
And so, he embarked on a risky venture. He tracked down Perry and Dick and befriended them. He spent countless hours talking to them, learning about their lives and their motivations. He even helped them with their defense, hoping to save them from the death penalty.
But as his relationship with the killers deepened, Capote found himself struggling with conflicting emotions. He knew that what they had done was unforgivable, but he couldn’t help feeling a sense of compassion towards them.
As he sat at his typewriter, pounding out page after page of notes and observations, Capote knew that he was on the brink of something extraordinary. He was going to write a book that would change the face of literature forever.
Little did he know, however, that the journey he was about to embark on would change him in ways he could never have imagined. He was about to enter a world of darkness and despair, where the lines between good and evil were blurred, and the only certainty was the cold, hard truth of what had happened in that small Kansas town.
Truman Capote arrives in Kansas, ready to investigate the brutal murder of the Clutter family. He is greeted by the local police who are skeptical of his intentions. Capote is undeterred and begins to explore the town in search of answers. He stops at the Clutter’s farmhouse, now abandoned, and begins to piece together the events leading up to the murder.
As he continues his investigation, Capote meets a young girl who survived the attack. She is traumatized and hesitant to speak about the events of that night. Capote takes his time with her, coaxing out the details slowly. He begins to feel that he has uncovered a crucial clue when the girl mentions hearing voices in the house that night. Capote mentally files away this information, convinced that it will lead him closer to the truth.
Next, Capote meets with the sheriff, who is even more skeptical of his presence in the town. The sheriff is hostile and challenges Capote on his motives for being there. Capote tries to explain that he is there to tell the story of the murder and its aftermath, but the sheriff remains unconvinced. He warns Capote to stay out of the way of the investigation and to leave the town as soon as possible.
Despite the sheriff’s warnings, Capote continues his investigation. He spends time at the local diner, chatting with the residents of the town and gathering information. He also visits the local school, hoping to find more clues. While there, he learns that the Clutter children were well-liked and that their deaths have shaken the town to its core.
As Capote delves deeper into the case, he becomes increasingly obsessed with finding out what happened. He spends long hours poring over the police reports and examining the crime scene. He begins to lose track of time and neglects his own wellbeing.
One night, Capote attends a local party and meets a woman named Holly, who takes an interest in his work. They have a long conversation about the case, and Capote finds himself opening up to her. She offers him a place to stay and helps him to unwind from the stress of the investigation.
The next day, Capote continues his investigation with renewed vigor. He visits the local jail, where the suspects are being held, and begins to interview them. He is surprised to find that they are both young men who come from troubled backgrounds. Capote becomes increasingly convinced that there is more to their story than meets the eye.
As Capote’s investigation deepens, so does his understanding of the town and its people. He begins to see the complexities of their lives and the ways in which they are intertwined with the murder of the Clutters. He also begins to recognize the toll that this investigation is taking on him, both emotionally and physically.
At the end of chapter 2, Capote is still trying to make sense of the events that led to the murder of the Clutter family. He has uncovered some new clues and met some important people, but there is still much more to uncover. He is increasingly drawn to the young suspects, Perry and Dick, and begins to see the story through their eyes. It is clear that Capote’s investigation is far from over, and that there are more twists and turns to come.
Truman Capote befriends the killers, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, who are on trial for the brutal murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. He becomes emotionally invested in their case and begins to sympathize with them.
As Capote spends more time with Perry and Dick, he becomes increasingly interested in their personal histories. He learns that Perry had a difficult childhood, marked by abuse and neglect, which left him with deep emotional scars. Dick, on the other hand, came from a more stable background, but struggled with issues of identity and substance abuse.
Despite their troubled pasts, Capote sees something in Perry and Dick that he admires. They are both charismatic and intelligent, and he believes that they are capable of redemption. He begins to form a personal connection with them, spending hours talking to them about their lives and their motivations for committing the crime.
Capote’s relationship with Perry is particularly fraught, as he begins to see himself in the troubled young man. He recognizes Perry’s pain and isolation, and feels a deep sense of empathy for him. At the same time, he is torn between his compassion for Perry and his obligation as a journalist to report the facts of the case impartially.
As the trial wears on, Capote begins to experience a range of emotions. He is fascinated by the intricate details of the crime and the legal proceedings, but also feels a sense of horror at the brutality of the murders. He becomes increasingly invested in the outcome of the trial, hoping against hope that Perry and Dick will be found not guilty.
One of the most striking moments in Chapter 3 comes when Capote interviews the young girl who survived the attack on the Clutter family. He is deeply moved by her courage and resilience in the face of such terrible violence, and becomes determined to seek justice on her behalf. At the same time, he is haunted by the realization that the killers he has come to know and care about are responsible for such a horrific crime.
As Capote’s relationship with Perry and Dick deepens, he begins to share more of himself with them. He tells them about his own difficult childhood and his struggles with addiction and depression. They in turn confide in him about their own experiences, and a deep bond begins to form between them.
However, as the trial draws to a close, Capote’s emotional investment in the case begins to take a toll. He becomes increasingly irritable and erratic, struggling to balance his journalistic obligations with his personal feelings. He also worries that his involvement with the killers could compromise his objectivity and harm his reputation as a writer.
Overall, Chapter 3 is a complex and emotionally charged exploration of Capote’s relationship with the killers and the personal toll that their case takes on him. It is a testament to Capote’s skill as a writer that he is able to convey both the horror of the crime and the humanity of the people involved in such a nuanced and affecting way. As the story unfolds, readers are drawn deeper into the web of relationships and emotions that define this unforgettable true crime tale.
As Capote spends more time with Perry and Dick, he finds himself becoming increasingly invested in their case, and even begins to sympathize with them. He becomes determined to uncover the details of their troubled pasts and their motivations for committing the crime.
Capote begins by delving into Perry’s past, and soon discovers a tragic history of abuse and neglect. Perry grew up in a family where he was frequently beaten and neglected by his father, who was an alcoholic. His mother suffered from mental illness, and was often unable to care for her children. Perry and his siblings were forced to fend for themselves, and were frequently sent to foster homes or juvenile detention centers.
As Capote listens to Perry’s story, he can’t help but feel a sense of compassion for the young man. He finds himself drawn to Perry’s vulnerability, and begins to see him as more than just a killer. Perry, for his part, seems to appreciate the attention that Capote is giving him, and becomes increasingly open with him.
Capote also spends time with Dick, and begins to uncover a history of drug abuse and petty crime. Dick’s childhood was also troubled, though in a different way than Perry’s. He was raised in a strict, religious household, and rebelled against his upbringing by turning to drugs and crime. He sees the murder of the Clutter family as a way to make a quick buck, and is surprised by the intensity of the emotions that the crime unleashes in him.
As Capote learns more about Perry and Dick, he finds himself struggling with conflicting emotions. He is appalled by the violence they have committed, but also finds himself drawn to their vulnerability and their troubled pasts. He begins to see them as complex, nuanced individuals, rather than just killers.
Capote’s growing connection with Perry and Dick becomes a source of tension for the local authorities, who are already suspicious of his motives. They worry that he is becoming too emotionally involved with the defendants, and that he may be trying to manipulate the outcome of the trial.
Despite these concerns, Capote continues to spend time with Perry and Dick, and begins to develop a deep bond with them. He begins to see them as friends, and even starts to dream of a future where they can all be together, living normal lives. But as the trial approaches its conclusion, Capote realizes that his dream may be nothing more than a fantasy, and that Perry and Dick may be beyond redemption.
Chapter 5: The Trial Comes to a Dramatic Conclusion
As the trial of Perry Smith and Dick Hickock draws to a close, Truman Capote becomes increasingly invested in their case. He has spent months getting to know the killers, delving into their troubled pasts and uncovering the motivations behind their heinous crime. But as the verdict is announced, Capote is devastated by the outcome.
Perry and Dick are found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. Capote is wracked with guilt and regret, wondering if there was anything more he could have done to save them. He had become emotionally attached to the killers, seeing them as more than just cold-blooded murderers. He had even defended them in public, arguing that they were not inherently evil, but rather products of their circumstances.
But despite his efforts, the jury had ultimately decided that Perry and Dick deserved to die for their crimes. Capote is inconsolable, feeling that he has let them down. He had promised them hope, had promised them that he would fight for their lives, and yet he had failed.
As the reality of the situation sinks in, Capote becomes more withdrawn and introspective. He spends long hours alone in his hotel room, pondering the meaning of life and the nature of evil. He begins to question his own motivations for getting involved in the case, wondering if he had been driven more by a desire for fame and recognition than a genuine concern for justice.
But despite his doubts, Capote cannot walk away from the situation. He becomes obsessed with the idea of appealing the killers’ sentences, of finding some way to save them from the electric chair. He visits them regularly in their cells, doing everything in his power to keep their spirits up and maintain their hope.
As the appeal process begins, Capote finds himself at odds with the legal system. He is seen as an outsider, an interloper, and is accused of trying to manipulate the justice system for his own ends. He faces backlash from the public, who see him as an apologist for killers, and from his fellow writers, who see him as a sellout.
But Capote persists, driven by his own sense of moral righteousness. He writes letters to judges and politicians, makes public speeches, and tries to mobilize public opinion. He becomes increasingly desperate as the deadline for the appeal draws near, knowing that if he fails, Perry and Dick will be executed.
In the end, Capote’s efforts are in vain. The appeal is denied and the killers are scheduled to die. Capote is devastated, struggling to come to terms with the loss of his friends and the failure of his own ambitions. He is haunted by the words of Perry, who had told him that he was their only hope, and wonders if he had betrayed them in the end.
As Capote returns to New York and begins work on his book, “In Cold Blood,” he is a changed man. The experience in Kansas has left an indelible mark on him, one that will stay with him for the rest of his life. The book becomes a bestseller and a literary classic, but for Capote, the personal and emotional toll of the case has been immense. He has learned that justice is not always served, that sometimes the world is cruel and arbitrary, and that the line between good and evil is not always clear-cut.
As the appeal process drags on, Truman Capote becomes increasingly desperate to save Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. He has become emotionally invested in their case and feels responsible for their fate. Capote is determined to do whatever it takes to sway public opinion and gain support for their cause. However, he soon realizes that his involvement has consequences.
Capote’s campaign to appeal the killers’ sentences begins to take a toll on his personal and professional life. He faces backlash from the public, who view his actions as an attempt to glorify murderers. He also receives criticism from his peers, who accuse him of exploiting Perry and Dick for his own gain. Despite these setbacks, Capote remains steadfast in his mission to save the two men.
To gain public support for Perry and Dick’s cause, Capote begins a series of media appearances. He gives interviews to newspapers and magazines, appears on talk shows, and even writes op-eds. He tells anyone who will listen about the injustices he believes Perry and Dick have suffered and pleads with the public to help him fight against their death sentences.
Capote’s relentless campaign begins to have an impact. He receives letters of support from people all over the world, who believe that Perry and Dick have been unfairly punished. He also gains the attention of influential people, who offer to help him in his fight. However, not everyone is on board with Capote’s mission.
As he becomes more vocal in his support for Perry and Dick, Capote begins to receive threats. Some people warn him to stay out of the case, while others accuse him of being complicit in the crime. Capote is unnerved by the hostility directed towards him and begins to wonder if he has bitten off more than he can chew.
Despite the threats and criticism, Capote refuses to give up. He becomes even more determined to save Perry and Dick from their fate. He begins to work behind the scenes, using his connections and resources to try and sway the judge’s decision. He hires lawyers to work on the appeal, and he enlists the help of influential people in the media and political spheres.
As the deadline for the appeal draws near, Capote becomes increasingly anxious. He knows that Perry and Dick’s fate hangs in the balance and that their lives are in his hands. He begins to lose sleep, and he spends all his waking hours working on the case. He feels like he is on the edge of a precipice, and he doesn’t know if he can hold on much longer.
In the end, Capote’s efforts are not enough. The appeal is denied, and Perry and Dick are scheduled to be executed. Capote is devastated by the outcome and feels like he has failed them. He is also left to deal with the aftermath of his involvement in the case. He has made enemies, lost friends, and damaged his reputation. However, he is not ready to give up just yet. He still has one more card to play.
As weeks turned into months, Capote’s relationship with Perry started to become strained. He was spending more and more time trying to help the killers, but their relationship was not as close as it once was. Perry had been acting distant, and Capote was starting to feel like he was losing control of the situation.
Capote started to question his own motivations for getting involved, wondering if he had begun to see Perry as more of a book subject than a person. He knew that he had started to blur the lines between his professional and personal life, and it was starting to weigh on him.
One day, Capote went to see Perry at the jail. Perry was sitting on his bunk when Capote arrived. Capote could tell that Perry was upset.
“What’s wrong, Perry?” asked Capote.
“I don’t think the appeal is going to work,” said Perry. “I think we’re going to be executed.”
Capote tried to comfort Perry, but he could tell that his words were hollow. He knew that Perry was right. The odds were against them.
As Capote left the jail, he started to feel a sense of hopelessness. He was realizing that all of his efforts might not be enough to save Perry and Dick. He was struggling with his own emotions, and he didn’t know how to cope.
Capote’s personal life was starting to suffer as well. He was neglecting his boyfriend, Jack Dunphy, and their relationship was becoming strained. Jack was feeling left out of Capote’s life, and he wasn’t sure how to get his boyfriend’s attention.
Capote was also facing backlash from the public and his peers. Many people thought that he had gone too far in his involvement with Perry and Dick. They accused him of trying to exploit the killers for his own gain.
Capote was feeling lost and alone. He didn’t know who he could trust or where to turn. He was starting to feel like he had made a mistake by getting involved with Perry and Dick.
As the appeal process dragged on, Capote became increasingly desperate. He started to resort to extreme measures to try and sway the judge’s decision. He even considered writing a letter to the judge, pleading for mercy.
But deep down, Capote knew that it was too late. He knew that the appeal was a long shot, and that he had already done everything he could.
As the deadline for the appeal drew near, Capote felt a sense of resignation. He knew that Perry and Dick were going to be executed, and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
Capote’s world was falling apart. He had invested so much of himself in this case, and now it was all for nothing. He felt like he had let Perry and Dick down, and he was struggling to come to terms with the outcome.
In the end, the appeal was denied, and Perry and Dick were scheduled to be executed. Capote was devastated. He had lost his two closest friends, and he was left to pick up the pieces of his shattered life.
Capote returned to New York and started work on his book, “In Cold Blood.” But he was haunted by his experiences in Kansas and the emotional toll they had taken on him. It was a difficult time for Capote, and he knew that his personal and professional life would never be the same again.
As the deadline for the appeal draws near, Truman Capote becomes increasingly desperate to save Perry and Dick from their impending execution. He has spent months trying to gain public support for their cause, but the effort has been met with resistance and indifference.
Capote’s own emotional attachment to the case has also taken a toll on him. He has become consumed by the story and the characters involved, and his personal and professional life have suffered as a result. He has alienated friends and colleagues, and his reputation as a writer is at stake.
With time running out, Capote begins to resort to extreme measures to try and sway the judge’s decision. He hires private investigators to dig up new evidence and bribes witnesses to come forward with information. He also employs a team of lawyers to appeal the case on technicalities.
As the appeal hearing approaches, Capote’s anxiety and desperation reach a fever pitch. He is sleep-deprived and has developed a drinking problem to cope with the stress. He becomes paranoid and delusional, convinced that there is a conspiracy against the defendants.
When the day of the hearing arrives, Capote is a nervous wreck. He enters the courtroom with Perry and Dick’s families, hoping to sway the judge with their emotional pleas for mercy. He has also arranged for a group of supporters to rally outside the courthouse, hoping to create a sense of public pressure.
As the hearing begins, Capote’s lawyers argue their case with precision and passion. They present new evidence and highlight inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case. Capote watches from the sidelines, hoping that his efforts have paid off.
But as the hearing drags on, Capote’s hope begins to fade. The judge seems unmoved by the defense’s arguments and appears determined to uphold the original verdict. Capote becomes increasingly desperate, interrupting the proceedings with outbursts and pleas.
As the hearing draws to a close, Capote realizes that he has failed. Perry and Dick are sentenced to death, and there is nothing he can do to save them. He falls into a state of despair, feeling as though he has betrayed their trust and failed to live up to his own expectations.
Capote returns to his hotel room, where he lies in bed for days, drinking and wallowing in self-pity. He contemplates suicide but ultimately decides to soldier on. He knows that he still has a book to write, and that the story of Perry and Dick is far from over.
In the end, Capote’s efforts to save Perry and Dick may have been misguided and even unethical, but they reflect his deep-seated empathy and compassion for those who society has cast aside. His determination to tell their story with honesty and compassion would result in the creation of his masterpiece, “In Cold Blood.”
Chapter 9: The Last Stand
The appeal was denied, and Truman Capote was left with a crushing sense of defeat. He had spent years working to save the lives of Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, forging a close relationship with them in the process. Now, everything had come to an end.
Capote had gone to great lengths to sway the judge’s decision, using his connections in the literary world and the media to create a public outcry against the death penalty. He had even resorted to visiting the judge’s chambers, hoping to persuade him to rule in favor of the killers.
But in the end, it was all for naught. The judge remained unmoved, and Perry and Dick were scheduled to be executed in just a few short weeks.
Capote was devastated. He had become so invested in the case, so emotionally attached to Perry and Dick, that he couldn’t bear the thought of them being put to death. He spent sleepless nights trying to come up with a new plan, a last-ditch effort to save their lives.
As the execution date approached, Capote became increasingly desperate. He reached out to anyone who could help him, from lawyers to activists to politicians. He even considered staging a protest, risking his own safety to draw attention to the case.
But nothing worked. The legal system had made its decision, and there was nothing Capote could do to change it. He was left feeling powerless, helpless, and alone.
As the day of the execution drew near, Capote made one final visit to Perry in prison. They talked for hours, reminiscing about their time together and discussing the future that would never be. Capote was struck by how resigned Perry seemed to his fate, how accepting he was of his impending death.
It was a stark contrast to Capote’s own emotions. He was consumed by grief, anger, and a sense of injustice. He couldn’t fathom why Perry and Dick had to die, why the legal system couldn’t find a way to show mercy.
The day of the execution arrived, and Capote made his way to the prison with a heavy heart. He watched as Perry and Dick were led to the death chamber, their hands bound and their faces stoic. He felt sick to his stomach, knowing that there was nothing he could do to stop what was about to happen.
As the lethal injection was administered, Capote closed his eyes and prayed for a miracle. He hoped against hope that something would change, that the killers would be granted a last-minute reprieve. But it was not to be.
Perry and Dick died, and Capote was left with a profound sense of loss. He had invested so much of himself in their lives, had come to see them as friends, and now they were gone forever. He stumbled out of the prison, tears streaming down his face, and fell to his knees.
For days after the execution, Capote was consumed by grief. He couldn’t write, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep. He was haunted by the memories of Perry and Dick, by the sense of injustice and futility that had consumed him. He wondered if he had done everything he could to try and save them, or if he had simply been deluding himself.
In the end, Capote had to confront the reality of what had happened. Perry and Dick were dead, a chapter in his life had come to a close, and he had to find a way to move on. He returned to New York, to his work and his friends, but he was forever changed by the events of the past. He had lost a part of himself in Kansas, and he would never be the same again.
Truman Capote returned to New York after the execution of Perry and Dick, feeling lost and alone. The experience had taken a significant emotional toll on him, leaving him feeling drained and unable to focus. He had started working on his book, “In Cold Blood,” but found it difficult to write about the events that had transpired.
As he sat at his desk, staring at the blank page in front of him, Capote couldn’t help but replay the memories of his time in Kansas over and over again in his mind. He felt as though he had lost a part of himself in the process of trying to save Perry and Dick, and he didn’t know how to move forward.
Despite his inner turmoil, Capote knew that he had to finish the book. It was his most significant work to date, and he had put a great deal of time and effort into researching and writing it. He was determined to see it through, no matter the cost.
As he sat down to write, Capote found that the words flowed more easily than he had anticipated. He wrote about the events leading up to the murders, the trial, and the aftermath of Perry and Dick’s execution. He described the pain and suffering he had witnessed, and the sense of loss that he felt.
As he wrote, Capote began to feel a sense of relief. The book was a way for him to process the trauma he had experienced, to put into words the feelings he had been unable to express. He wrote with a sense of urgency, pouring his soul into every word.
As he reached the end of the book, Capote experienced a sense of closure. He had finally been able to put the events of the past behind him, to move forward with his life. He hoped that the book would serve as a tribute to the victims and a cautionary tale to those who might be tempted to follow in the footsteps of Perry and Dick.
When “In Cold Blood” was published, it became an immediate hit, garnering critical acclaim and making Capote a literary superstar. But despite his newfound success, Capote remained haunted by the events of the past. He struggled with addiction and depression, unable to shake the memories of his time in Kansas.
Capote’s legacy as a writer would be forever tied to “In Cold Blood.” The book was a masterpiece, a true crime classic that would be studied and analyzed for decades to come. But for Capote, it was also a reminder of the cost of his obsession, of the toll that the pursuit of truth can take on a person’s soul.
In the end, Capote would be remembered not just for his writing but for the impact he had on the world of literature. His work would continue to inspire future generations of writers, challenging them to push the boundaries of what was possible and to tell stories that mattered. And while his life may have been marked by tragedy and loss, his legacy would endure as a testament to the power of the written word.
Some scenes from the movie Capote written by A.I.
Genre: Crime Drama
Logline: When a renowned writer is tasked with writing a non-fiction book about a brutal murder in Kansas, he becomes emotionally invested in the case and the killers, leading to unexpected consequences.
Scene 1 – EXT. NEW YORK CITY – DAY
Truman Capote, a flamboyant writer, walks through the bustling streets of New York City. He receives a call from his editor at The New Yorker, who assigns him to write a non-fiction book about the murder of a Kansas family.
Truman, we have a job for you. It’s a real doozy. A family of four was murdered in their home in Kansas. We want you to cover the trial and write a book about it.
(surprised) Kansas? That’s quite a change of scenery from my usual haunts. Who are the suspects?
Two men, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. They were caught within days of the murders and are currently on trial.
(leaning in) Tell me more about these men. What’s their story?
They claim they were looking for a safe full of money that they thought was hidden in the house. But there was no safe, and they ended up killing the family in a fit of rage.
(fascinated) This could be my ticket to the big leagues. I’ll take the assignment.
Truman hangs up the phone, a glint in his eye. He heads back to his apartment to start his research on the case.
Fade to black.
INT. KANSAS POLICE STATION – DAY
Truman Capote, a flamboyant writer from New York, sits in a cramped interrogation room with Detective Nye. Capote’s eyes flit around the sparsely furnished space, taking in the posters of wanted criminals and the stale smell of old coffee.
So, Mr. Capote, tell me what brings you to Kansas.
Oh, just a little story for The New Yorker. I’m investigating the Clutter family murders.
And what makes you think you can do a better job than we can?
I didn’t say that. I just think I can bring a different perspective to the case.
The door opens, and in walks a middle-aged woman with a somber expression on her face.
This is Mrs. Hartman. She’s the neighbor who found the bodies.
I still have nightmares about it. I can’t believe someone could do something so awful.
Yes, it’s a terrible tragedy. But I believe that by telling their story, we can bring some kind of closure to this community.
Mrs. Hartman nods, looking slightly comforted by his words. Truman smiles, knowing that he’s made an important connection.
Well, I suppose we can show you around a bit. Maybe you’ll find something we missed.
Truman stands up, smoothing his hair and straightening his suit jacket.
I’m sure I will, Detective Nye. I’m sure I will.
EXT. KANSAS PRISON YARD — DAY
Truman Capote stands alone in the prison yard, his eyes fixed on the two figures walking towards him. It’s Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, the two men on trial for the murder of a Kansas family. Capote feels a pang of nervousness as they approach him.
CAPOTE: (tentatively) Good afternoon, gentlemen.
PERRY: (smiling) Afternoon, Mr. Capote.
DICK: (grinning) You’re looking sharp today.
CAPOTE: (nervous chuckle) Thank you, Dick. I had a feeling I’d be meeting with you two today.
PERRY: We’re happy to speak with you.
CAPOTE: I appreciate that. (pauses) I wanted to talk to you about your childhoods. I’ve been doing some research and I think it could shed some light on why you did what you did.
DICK: (rolling his eyes) Our childhoods? What’s that got to do with anything?
CAPOTE: (firmly) It has everything to do with it. The way we are raised shapes who we become.
PERRY: (nodding) I see your point.
CAPOTE: (smiling) Good. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to hear more about your upbringing. Would you be comfortable sharing that with me?
The men exchange a look before nodding.
PERRY: (starting to speak) Well, I grew up in a small town in Nevada…
INT. PRISON VISITATION ROOM – DAY
Truman Capote sits across a table from Perry Smith, writing in his notebook as Perry talks.
I wasn’t always like this, Mr. Capote. There was a time when I had dreams, when I thought I could be something more than what I am.
What happened, Perry?
Life happened. My father was a drunk who beat us. My mother was sick, and we never had enough to eat. I started stealing to survive. It felt good, you know? Like I had some control over my life.
Capote nods understandingly.
And how did you end up in Kansas?
Dick and I were trying to make a big score. We knew this family had money. We thought we could take it and get out of town. But something went wrong. They started fighting back, and it just spiraled out of control.
You know, Mr. Capote, I never thought I’d find someone who cared about me. Everyone just sees me as a monster.
Capote looks deep into Perry’s eyes.
I don’t see you as a monster, Perry. I see a man who made some terrible mistakes, but who has the potential for redemption.
Perry looks down, tears welling up in his eyes.
Thank you, Mr. Capote. You don’t know what that means to me.
Capote stands up, closing his notebook.
I have to go now, Perry. But I’ll see you again soon.
Perry nods, wiping away his tears as Capote exits the room.
As Capote walks down the prison hallway, he takes a deep breath, clearly affected by his conversation with Perry.
EXT. COURTHOUSE – DAY
The courthouse is filled with reporters and spectators as Perry and Dick are brought out in handcuffs. Truman Capote stands off to the side, watching nervously.
This can’t be happening.
He watches as Perry and Dick are led away.
I couldn’t believe it. After all the time I had spent with them, after all the effort I had put in to help them, it had come to this.
INT. PRISON VISITATION ROOM – DAY
Capote sits across from Perry, who looks defeated.
I don’t know what to do now.
I know it’s hard, Perry. But we can still appeal the decision. We can keep fighting.
(shaking his head)
It’s no use. They’ve already made up their minds.
We can find a way. I won’t give up on you.
It’s too late for that.
INT. TRUMAN’S HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT
Truman sits at his desk, staring blankly at his typewriter. He takes a sip of whiskey and stares off into space.
I felt lost. I had invested so much of myself into this case, and now it was all over. I didn’t know where to go from here.
His phone rings, interrupting his thoughts.
VOICE ON PHONE
(on the other end)
Truman, it’s Harper. I just wanted to check in and see how you’re doing.
I’m fine. Just a little overwhelmed.
Are you sure? You know you can always talk to me.
I appreciate it, Harper. I really do.
Let’s meet for lunch tomorrow. We’ll talk it out.
That sounds good. Thanks, Harper.
He hangs up the phone and takes another sip of whiskey, feeling a small sense of relief.
Maybe things weren’t over after all. Maybe there was still hope.