Which Socialite Will Naomi Watts Play & Who Are The Other “Swans”?

The razor sharp barbs and old-school Hollywood glamour watching Bette Davis and Joan Crawford’s real-life battles play out on television on the first season of Ryan Murphy’s smash FX anthology series Feud would be hard to top, but Murphy is about to try. Deadline announced this weekend that the next chapter of Feud will showcase New York City high society of the 1960’s and 70’s, and will be titled Feud: Capote’s Women.  Based on Laurence Leamer’s bestselling book “Capote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era”, the eight episode series will tell the story of writer and bon-vivant Truman Capote and his best friend at the time society maven (and wife of CBS news head William Paley) Babe Paley and his numerous society friends that he aptly called his “Swans”-and the catastrophic fallout of their friendship.

Set in the 1970s (and concluding with Capote’s death in 1984), the series details the now well-known story of Capote choosing to publish the thinly veiled hit piece titled “La Côte Basque 1965” in Esquire in 1975. While the piece was supposed to serve as a chapter in Capote’s much-discussed finished novel “Answered Prayers”  that was not how it was publicly received upon its release. At the time, Capote (after the smash success of his novel In Cold Blood”) was NYC royalty, who traveled in high profile circles, surrounded by the women he coined his “Swans”. Along with Paley (who will be portrayed by two time Academy Award nominated actress Naomi Watts in Feud: Capote’s Women) they included socialite Slim Keith, White House adjacent sister of Jackie O, Lee Radziwill, Pamela Churchill Harriman, (who in a gossip worthy story of her own, was the ex-wife of Winston Churchill’s son and future wife of Slim Keith’s husband), Gloria Guinness and C.Z. Guest. Capote’s Esquire article ending up serving as an exposé that was pointedly directed at his Swans. Whether it was adultery or even allegations of murder, the secrets tumbled out for all of New York City society to see and judge. It’s publication also served as the final nail in the coffin of his friendships with the Swans (who cut him off completely) and he ended up essentially banished from New York City society. 

Anticipation is already building as to who is going to come on board to star in Feud 2: Capote’s Women to play the crucial roles of the Swans. Deadline reports that Oscar-nominated names are being bandied about to join Watts in playing the Swans. Roles still being currently cast are Slim Keith, Pamela Churchill Harriman, Lee Radziwill, Gloria Guinness and C.Z. Guest. Additionally, Johnny Carson’s second wife Joanne Carson (a close friend of Capote’s up until his death) is currently being cast as well. In a turn of phenomenal production news, Gus Van Sant is on board to direct production, with Tony and Pulitzer-nominated Jon Robin Baitz (who crafted the package as a whole) on board to write all of the episodes, as well as serve as showrunner for the production.

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