Marilyn Monroe as Holly Golightly? Trevor Howard as 007? How films could have turned out very differently

A new documentary, ‘Truman & Tennessee’, reveals that Monroe was Truman Capote’s first choice to star in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. But, says, Geoffrey Macnab, it’s just one of many casting switches that have utterly transformed films

Friday 30 April 2021 00:14
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<p>Marilyn Monroe was Truman Capote’s first choice to star in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ but the role went to Audrey Hepburn</p>

Marilyn Monroe was Truman Capote’s first choice to star in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ but the role went to Audrey Hepburn

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Picture the scene: it’s Marilyn Monroe at her most alluring. Dawn is rising over New York. After a night on the town, the blonde star finds herself alone on Fifth Avenue. She is outside the big, swanky jewellery store, looking glamorous but as pale as the morning light.

This is the film adaptation of Truman Capote’s 1958 novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s as it might have turned out. Capote himself was convinced that Monroe was “exactly right for the part” of Holly Golightly, the out-of-towner who comes to the big city to try to build herself a life.

“She [Holly] was such a symbol of all these girls who come to New York and spin in the sun for a moment, like mayflies, and then disappear,” Capote said of one of his most famous fictional creations. “I wanted to rescue one girl from that anonymity and preserve her for posterity.”

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