Naomi Watts has signed up to be part of Ryan Murphy’s hit anthology series Feud.
Following on from the success of FEUD: Bette and Joan on FX, a new project has been greenlit titled Capote’s Women, where Watts is set to play American socialite Babe Paley, according to Deadline.
Paley – a friend of Truman Capote – ruled the glamorous world of New York society around 1960s and 1970s.
Two-time Oscar nominated director Gus Van Sant will direct all eight episodes of the series, with Pulitzer-nominated writer Jon Robin Baitz serving as showrunner and will be writing all eight episodes.
New role: Naomi Watts joins Ryan Murphy’s latest Feud miniseries playing American socialite Babe Paley… in drama about Truman Capote’s female friends known as ‘Swans’
The project is an adaptation of a best selling book by Laurence Leamer titled Capote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era.
The miniseries will be set in the ’70s with it ending around the time of Truman Capote’s death in 1984.
The drama follows the lives of his elegant, stylish high-society women – dubbed his ‘Swans’- who included Jackie Kennedy’s sister, Lee Radziwill, Andy Warhol’s muse CZ Guest, and Babe Paley.
It is not yet clear which other historical figures will be depicted in the series.
In good hands: Watts will be directed by two-time Oscar nominated director Gus Van Sant (Watts pictured above last month)
Capote’s popularity with New York socialites is perhaps of little surprise considering he was hailed one of the sharpest writers of the 20th Century.
His 1958 novella, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, was adapted into the Oscar-winning movie starring Audrey Hepburn, while his 1966 true crime ‘non fiction novel’, In Cold Blood, is often regarded as one of the greatest examples of the genre.
Babe Paley made up one third of the Cushing sisters – alongside siblings Minnie and Betsey – whose romances, style trends and parties captivated the American public during the poverty-stricken Great Depression.
The women fascinated people with their glamorous lifestyles marked by wealth, privilege, country homes, designer clothes, yachts, fancy apartments and six high-profile marriages.
Interesting life: Barbara (‘Babe’) Paley with her second husband CBS founder William S. Paley at Sarah Roosevelt’s going away party at Greentree, held on Jock Whitney’s Manhasset estate, Long Island, circa 1952
The first married was 21-year-old Betsey, the middle sister who ensnared the affections of James Roosevelt II. James, also known as ‘Jimmy’ to his classmates at Harvard, was the eldest son of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Betsey’s time as a Roosevelt in Washington DC was important for Babe because she arranged for her teenage sister to be introduced to the debutante circuit by hosting a ball at The White House.
Babe (born Barbara) had long been regarded as the most beautiful of the three girls; she was tall, slender, stylish and had aristocratic appeal. But much to her mother’s disappointment, Babe decided to enter the workforce after two seasons of smashing success as a debutante.
Babe became an editor at Vogue Magazine, hired by Conde Nast himself, and quickly became a style icon, having believed to have started two 20th century trends – mixing high-low pieces and tying a scarf to her handbag.
She was married to oil heir Stanley Grafton Mortimer for six years, having two children, Amanda Jay Mortimer and Stanley Grafton Mortimer, before wedding CBS founder William S. Paley.
Motherhood was not Babe’s forte and she was said to have ignored her children while in pursuit of social status.
Inspiration: Capote’s popularity with New York socialites is perhaps of little surprise considering he was hailed one of the sharpest writers of the 20th Century
Babe and William lived in a luxurious apartment at the St Regis in New York. At the weekend, they would host lavish parties at their 80 acre farm on Long Island, attended by celebrity guests.
She maintained her position on the best-dressed list 14 times before officially being inducted into the Fashion Hall of Fame in 1958. She stayed married to William until her death in 1978 from lung cancer.
One of Babe’s closet friends was Truman Capote, who admitted in his journal that her only fault was that she was perfect.
However this friendship was destroyed after Capote published his Answered Prayers chapter, ‘La Cote Basque 1965’, in Esquire Magazine – detailing a thinly-veiled account of William Paley cheating on his wife.
He said that Babe had walked in on her husband washing their sheets after a woman he was having an affair with menstruated on their marital bed. She never spoke to the writer again.