The creation of one of the most memorable books of the 1960s -- and the impact the writing and research would have on its author -- is explored in this drama based on a true story. In 1959, Truman Capote (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) was a critically acclaimed novelist who had earned a small degree of celebrity for his work when he read a short newspaper item about a multiple murder in a small Kansas town. For some reason, the story fascinated Capote, and he asked William Shawn (Bob Balaban), his editor at The New Yorker, to let him write a piece about the case. Capote had long believed that in the right hands, a true story could be molded into a tale as compelling as any fiction, and he believed this event, in which the brutal and unimaginable was visited upon a community where it was least expected, could be just the right material. Capote traveled to Kansas with his close friend Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), herself becoming a major literary figure with the success of To Kill a Mockingbird, and while Capote's effete and mannered personal style stuck out like a sore thumb in Kansas, in time he gained the trust of Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper), the Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent investigating the murder of the Clutter family, and with his help Capote's magazine piece grew into a full-length book. Capote also became familiar with the petty criminals who killed the Clutter family, Dick Hickock (Mark Pellegrino) and Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.), and in Smith he found a troubling kindred spirit more like himself than he wanted to admit. After attaining a sort of friendship with Smith under the assumption that the man would be executed before the book was ever published, Capote finds himself forced to directly confront the moral implications of his actions with regards to both his role in the man's death, and the way that he would be remembered. Capote also co-stars Bruce Greenwood as Capote's longtime companion Jack Dunphy, and Amy Ryan as Mary Dewey, Alvin's wife who became a confidante of Capote's.
by Mark Deming synopsis