Feud: Capote vs. the Swans episode 5: EP on James Baldwin

Feud: Capote vs. the Swans
Photo: FX

Feud: Capote vs. the Swans episode 5 brought about one of the most important conversations of Truman’s life — and yet, it was all imaginary. The conversation between James Baldwin and the author is one that never really happened. Also, there are questions about whether or not this was all a dream as presented through the episode.

What was the point of all of this? The simple answer is that it represented the producers wanting to do whatever they could to present Truman with a colleague, someone who could shine a light back on him and wage a real challenge. The two were contemporaries in life, though they also had a rivalry of sorts at times. You could almost argue that Capote was actually jealous of the love that Baldwin received. Yet, he needed some way to get back to writing Answered Prayers.

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So why choose to create this whole sequence between the two writers for this episode? In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, here is some of what executive producer / writer Jon Robin Baitz had to say:

Of course, it’s an imagined event. It’s a little play and I’m a playwright, and I love to do things that look at things from the side. I needed — and then everyone agreed — an observer with a great heart to come in and warn Truman, and attempt to rectify the situation he was in. I find James Baldwin to be an avatar of wisdom, and a life in poetry and a life in the heart. The exile part that he recommends, ultimately, was something that Baldwin did. He moved to Paris. He saw what the world was becoming. Had Truman been able to follow his advice, he might have lived another, what, 30 years? Baldwin’s wise and not invested in pettiness.

Unfortunately, we know the end of Capote’s story — he died of liver disease and never published his final novel. This “conversation” may have brought him temporary motivation, but not a neat or tidy end.

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This article was written by Jessica BunBun.

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