‘Feud: Capote vs. The Swans’ Star Tom Hollander Enlisted a ‘Lot of Help’ to Master Truman Capote’s Mannerisms

The actor unpacks the research, as well as vocal and movement coaching that went into his lead performance on the FX series

Feud: Capote vs the Swans
Tom Hollander as Truman Capote in "Feud: Capote vs the Swans" (Photo Credit: FX)

You would be forgiven for not immediately recognizing Tom Hollander in his latest role. That’s because disappearing into Truman Capote’s speak patterns, dialect and mannerisms for “Feud: Capote vs. The Swans” took a tremendous amount of research as well as “a lot of help.”

To prepare for the role, the British actor watched Capote’s many appearances on television talk shows. The iconic American novelist guest starred on everything from “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” to the “The Dick Cavett Show.” Hollander also studied “With Love From Truman,” a 1966 documentary short during which a reporter interviewed Capote in his beachfront home.

“There’s a lot of footage of him, so there’s plenty of opportunity to watch him and try and have a go,” Hollander told TheWrap.

The actor also worked with the “brilliant” vocal coach Jerome Butler, who has been working with dialect coaching and accent reduction for over 15 years. Butler has worked with the stars of series such as “Evil,” “Genius” and “The Undoing.”

“He taught me a lot of the vowel sounds and policed me every day,” Hollander recalled. “I couldn’t have done it without Jerome. I lent on him a lot.”

The star also relied on his “amazing” movement coach Polly Bennett, whom he’d worked with before in the U.K. Her previous credits include projects like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Elvis” and “The Crown.”

“She is extremely gifted, and she helped me as well,” Hollander said.

Set after the release of Capote’s best known work “In Cold Blood,” the second season of “Feud” begins when the author is at the height of his fame and success and chronicles his friendships with a group of New York socialites he cheekily calls his swans. But when Capote starts to reveal details of their personal life in a thinly veiled work of fiction, their relationship begins to sour. The second installment of “Feud” isn’t merely about a fight. Rather it’s also about the collapse of several treasured friendships and the demise of a man at the hand of his vices.

New episodes of “Feud: Capote vs. The Swans” premiere 10 p.m. Wednesdays on FX.


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