The Capote Tapes
The Capote Tapes
Director: Ebs Burnough
Runtime: 91 minutes
Cast: Truman Capote Lauren Bacall, Norman Mailer, Jay McInerney, Dick Cavett,
Kate Harrington, Lewis Lapham, André Leon Talley, Jay McInerney, Sally Quinn,
Dotson Rader, John Richardson, Sadie Stein, Colm Toíbín
Synopsis: In the 35 years since his death, Truman Capote has remained a source of curiosity to many. His works, including ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and ‘In Cold Blood’, have maintained their place in the literary canon of great twentieth century American literature and still appeal to readers across the globe today. ‘Answered Prayers’ was meant to be Truman Capote’s greatest masterpiece, an epic portrait of NYC’s glittering jet-set society. Instead, it sparked his downfall. Through never before heard audio archive and interviews with Capote’s friends and enemies, this intimate documentary reveals the rise and fall of one America’s most iconic writers.
This lively, beautifully produced, immersive look at the legendary Truman Capote from first time director, Ebs Burnough, who has nearly two decades of public and private sector experience (he served as an Advisor to First Lady Michelle Obama during the 2008 U.S. Presidential Campaign as well as serving as Deputy White House Social Secretary to the President and First Lady during the Obama’s first term in the White House) had unprecedented access to George Plimpton’s taped interviews for his biography – Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career.
George Plimpton, the editor of the Paris Review, began putting together an oral history of ‘the Tiny Terror’ (as Capote had been known). He aimed to interview everybody who had ever known Capote – and Capote had known everybody.
With unique access to the interview tapes on which Plimpton’s biography was based – ranging from Norman Mailer to Lauren Bacall, Lee Radziwill to Gore Vidal – Burnough unpicks the glittering rise and fall of America’s most iconic gay celebrity.
The documentary features interviews with Dick Cavett, André Leon Talley, Jay McInerney and Dotson Rader and introduces audiences to Kate Harrington, who was the daughter of one of his lovers, John O’Shea. Capote served in a surrogate father role (previously undisclosed) and Kate talks about living life with Truman Capote during this period and shines new light on his character through their close relationship.
In the 35 years since his death, Truman Capote has remained a source of fascination. His books, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood, have maintained their place in the literary canon of great twentieth century American literature and still appeal to readers across the globe today.
Answered Prayers was meant to be Truman Capote’s greatest masterwork of modernist literature – an epic portrait of NYC’s glittering jet-set society. Instead, it sparked his downfall. Using never before heard audio archive and interviews with Capote’s friends and enemies, this intimate documentary reveals the rise and fall of one America’s most iconic gay writers. ‘Answered prayers cause more tears than unanswered ones’ was Capote’s own epigraph for the lost manuscript.
In today’s world of celebrity sex-tapes and social media feuds, the dirty laundry of the rich and famous is frequently hung out in public. But the year was 1975. Gossip columns and paparazzi were comparatively tame. There was no reality TV star in the White House. There was no reality TV.
But throughout his life, Truman Capote had seen how the celebrity circus was changing – and he had instinctively known how to capitalise on it. Truman deliberately scandalised society by playing up his campness, talking frankly about homosexuality and delighting in picking fights; that way, no one forgot his name in a hurry. It placed him in a position of power. Was Answered Prayers the product of this?
The Capote Tapes will be available at altitude.film and on all digital platforms across the UK and Ireland from 29 January.
Images courtesy of Altitude