‘FEUD: Capote Vs. The Swans’ on FX: Meet the Cast

'FEUD: Capote Vs. The Swans' on FX

40 years after his death, Truman Capote is best remembered for his Pulitzer Prize-nominated “nonfiction novel” In Cold Blood. But the powerful socialites he befriended and betrayed likely would have told you that that title should have been reserved for his autobiography.

The second season of the FX anthology series ‘FEUD’ features high profile actresses in real life roles. Here’s your first look. 



FEUD: Capote Vs. The Swans—which premieres Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 10pm ET on FX—focuses on this particular chapter of Capote’s fascinating life. According to a description from FX, the show finds Capote (Tom Hollander) ingratiating himself with, “a coterie of society’s most elite women – rich, glamorous socialites who defined a bygone era of high society New York – whom he nicknamed ‘the swans.’ Beautiful and distinguished, the group included grande dame Barbara “Babe” Paley (Naomi Watts), Slim Keith (Diane Lane), C.Z. Guest (Chloë Sevigny) and Lee Radziwill (Calista Flockhart).” But as he descended into alcoholism, unable to finish the novel which earned him a series of lavish advances, Capote published an excerpt in Esquire, “exposing their most intimate secrets.” This “thinly veiled fictionalization of their lives…effectively destroyed his relationship with his swans, banished him from the high society he so loved and sent him into a spiral of self-destruction from which he would ultimately never recover.”

FEUD cleverly parallels the dynamic between Capote and the Swans by casting a comparatively lesser-known actor (Hollander might be best known for his role as the manipulative Quentin in the second season of The White Lotus) against not only Naomi Watts and Diane Lane, but Demi Moore, Molly Ringwald, and Treat Williams. Ahead of the show’s premiere, here’s a look at the cast, along with interesting facts about the real people they’re portraying.

Tom Hollander as Truman Capote

In Real Life…After signing his contract with Random House for the novel Answered Prayers in 1966, Capote blew past a series of deadlines, all the way until early 1980, when a new agreement was reached. It would have paid him $1 million dollars if he submitted the novel by March 1, 1981. Capote missed that deadline too, and he died just three years later in 1984 at the age of 59.


Naomi Watts as Babe Paley

In Real Life…From 1938 to 1947, Babe Paley was a fashion editor at Vogue magazine. Paley was inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1958 and her idiosyncratic style was frequently imitated; after she was photographed with a scarf tied to her handbag, millions of women helped it become a fashion trend.


Diane Lane as Slim Keith

In Real Life…Slim Keith was considered the original “California Girl” and eventually married legendary filmmaker Howard Hawks. After showing her husband a Harper’s Bazaar cover model, she’s is credited with “discovering” Lauren Bacall.


Chloë Sevigny as C.Z. Guest

In Real Life…Although she was American, C.Z. Guest was married to Winston Frederick Churchill Guest, first cousin to Sir Winston Churchill. They were married at the home of Ernest Hemmingway, who was the best man at their wedding.


Calista Flockhart as Lee Radziwill

In Real Life…You’d be forgiven for struggling to pronounce both her last name—Radziwill, which she gained after marrying Polish aristocrat Prince Stanisław Albrecht Radziwiłł—and her maiden name, Bouvier. If the latter sounds familiar, it’s because Lee is the younger sister of First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. The family connections don’t stop there. In 1972, Radziwill commissioned a documentary about the Bouvier family, which eventually focused on her aunt and cousin, colloquially known as “Big Edie” and “Little Edie.” If those names also sound familiar, it’s because they became the stars of the haunting documentary Grey Gardens.


Demi Moore as Ann Woodward

In Real Life…The events that Woodward is best-known for are covered in FEUD, so we won’t go into detail here, but prior to her marriage to banking heir William Woodward Jr., Ann Woodward was a nightclub dancer and radio actress who was once voted “The Most Beautiful Girl in Radio.”


Molly Ringwald as Joanne Carson

In Real Life…Joanne Carson was the second wife of legendary comedian and talk show host Johnny Carson, whom she divorced in 1972. She was a close friend of Truman Capote, who maintained a writing room in her home off of Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. In fact, that home is where Capote died in 1984, and where Joanne herself would pass away in 2015.