Acting

Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote – Movie Monologue Monday

This week we’re looking at Philip Seymour Hoffman’s detailed character portrayal in Capote.

Truman Capote (Hoffman) is writing about a murder that happened in a small Kansas town. In this scene he dines at the home of Al Dewey (Chris Cooper) the lead investigator in the case. Capote describes working on a movie with some very famous actors. The scene turns when he learns about his mother’s death.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwpVqRLsVSI&rel=0&iv_load_policy=3&start=0&end=129

Class Exercise

Watch the video and discuss these questions. Don’t worry about whether or not everyone has seen the whole movie. Fill in the missing details using what you see, hear, and imagine.

  • Capote doesn’t really know these people. Why do you suppose he brings up such a sad moment in his life at a dinner party?
  • At the 1:11 mark he pauses after saying the word “talk”. Why?
  • Have someone time the pause between the end of his speech (“It was too painful”) and the next time someone speaks. Why is this pause so long? How would the scnene change if the pause wasn’t there?
  • There is no music at all in this scene. That’s very rare for a modern movie. Would music improve this scene or is it fine the way it is?
  • Notice how the actors get stiller and stiller as the scene progresses. Why is that?
  • Did anyone spot a continuity error? At the 0:53 mark the shot changes and his hand is in a different position. Why do you think errors like these happen in movies? Are they avoidable?
  • Hoffman portrays a real person in this movie. Below is a short clip of the real Truman Capote. How effectively did Hoffman recreate Capote’s character?

About the author

Craig Mason