In the 2005 film Capote, we see that while Truman Capote was talking/interviewing Perry Smith, he got really close to him. But, whenever Perry asked him if he had started the book (which he asked quite a few times), Truman lied and said he had barely written anything.

Why did he lie to Perry if he had grown to care for him? Was the caring part an act to get a book?

1 Answer 1


In the film, he certainly didn't care.

He seduced Perry and betrayed him. He deliberately lied about the title of his book (as telling Perry the truth would have shown he was much less sympathetic than he was). He also refused to help Perry get a new lawyer for his appeals (as he wanted their execution for his book's ending).

So he lied to get close to Perry to help write his book.

This seems to echo real life. The Guardian had an article on the film where they commented:

The powerful scene in which the betrayed Smith yells at Capote, "What's the name of your book?" is based on a letter the real Perry Smith wrote to Capote on 12 April 1964: "I've been told that the book is to be coming off the press and to be sold after our executions. And that book IS entitled 'IN COLD BLOOD.' Whose [sic] fibbing?? Someone is, that's apparent."

  • 1
    +1 and I'd also argue that a chief irony of the story is how Capote himself maneuvered "in cold blood."
    – Shiz Z.
    Feb 26, 2016 at 14:19
  • To me, at least, there was an impression by the end of the movie that Capote was so affected that he began his long downward spiral; however that did not actually occur until after he published in 1975 the first installment of "Answered Prayers", which was very badly received. Feb 26, 2016 at 15:26

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