was nothing like her, but I felt I could 'act' Holly. I knew the
part would be a challenge, but I wanted it anyway. I always wonder
if I risked enough on that one. I should have been a little more
outrageous. But at the time, as a new mother, I was about as wild as
I could be. If only I were a Method player, huh? But the fact is, I
didn't really believe in The Method. I believed in good casting. And
I'm still not sure about Holly and me..."
The film Breakfast at Tiffany’s
was released by Paramount Pictures in 1961. Capote had
originally picked Marilyn Monroe to play the role of Holly
Golightly but Paramount instead chose the waifish Audrey Hepburn
to play the part. Capote truly adored Marilyn, one of his best
biographical pieces is written about her in The Dogs Bark.
Capote and Monroe shared a similar background that helped make
him persistent in casting her. They both grew up from desolate
childhoods and both had trouble throughout their careers dealing
with their fame through drugs and alcohol. And although Capote
lived longer than Monroe, they both met with a similar end.
I personally feel that Audrey
Hepburn was the better choice, simply because her physical
appearance already resembled the thin chicness of Holly and her
accent was perfect for the part. I think that perhaps Capote
underrated her talent as an actress. Marilyn Monroe’s real-life
personality may have been more suited to the role than Hepburn’s
but she played the part perfectly.
Capote was most upset with the
changes Paramount made in the screen version of his novel. In
particular with the change of the ending. Instead of a
remembrance of Holly, the narrator ends up convincing Holly to
stay in New York with him by making her realize that, like her
and her cat, they belong to each other. This totally changed the
theme of the story. In the book, Holly is always traveling-searching
for a place to belong, a place she never finds.
As a whole, the
film translates some of the material from the book elegantly and
word for word some scenes are perfect. Like any film that is
made from a book, the two should be judged by themselves as
separate entities. On its own Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a
wonderful film that has stood the the test of time and remains a
Capote with Marilyn Monroe in El Morroco in 1954. Monroe was
Capote’s choice to play the part of his famous lead character,
Holly Golightly. She was to him, "A beautiful child."
Capote with Audrey Hepburn and her husband Mel Ferrer during the
making of the film.
Clarke, Gerald. Capote: A Biography. New York: Simon and
Maychick, Diana. Audrey Hepburn: An Intimate Portrait. New
York: Carol Publishing Group, 1993.