April 15, 2015
In Cold Blood is being adapted for TV
by Nick Davies
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote’s seminal 1966 book about the investigation into a quadruple murder in Kansas, is heading for the small screen sometime in the near future. Patrick Hipes reports for Deadline that the Weinstein Company has optioned the rights to adapt the bestseller into a television series.
Capote initially wrote In Cold Blood as a four-part series for the New Yorker beginning in September 1965, before it was acquired by Random House and published as a book the following year. It’s been adapted a few times previously, as Hipes points out: the 2005 film Capote, which earned the late Philip Seymour Hoffman an Oscar; 2006’s Infamous; an eponymous 1967 film; and a 1996 made-for-TV movie.
The Weinstein acquisition marks the first time the book will be turned into a series, produced by Gary Oldman and Douglas Urbanski’s company Flying Studios, with the screenplay to written by Kevin Hood, who co-wrote the Jane Austen biopic Becoming Jane. Harvey Weinstein says in a press statement announcing the project, “Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood has been riveting audiences since it first hit the literary scene almost 50 years ago, and it continues to have that same thrilling, timeless appeal today. We are extremely excited to be partnering with Gary, Doug and the whole Flying Studios team to bring what’s sure to be an unbelievable series to TV viewers.”
A possible wrinkle to the story, as Danette Chavez points out for the AV Club, comes from December’s ruling that Ronald Nye would be allowed to publish documents about the case that he got from his father, a Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent who worked on the case. Those documents reportedly contradict Capote’s description of his book as “immaculately factual,” calling into question his timeline, particularly with regard to the KBI’s response to a tip that would lead them to catch the murderers of the Clutter family. Will the Weinsteins faithfully depict the events of the investigation as they appear in the book (opening up the possibility, as Chavez suggests, of dueling Capote TV projects), or will they exercise poetic license on top of Capote’s poetic license in an effort to present something closer to what really happened?
In this very early stage, it’s far too soon to say when this will end up airing on TV or on which network, but if I had to hazard a guess, it seems like it would fit right in alongside HBO programming like True Detective and The Jinx.
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.