Even though we just learned about a rather unexpected project coming from Quentin Tarantino — a film that somehow involves the murders committed in 1969 by followers of Charles Manson — casting rumors and ideas have already come to light. Names that have already surfaced include Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jennifer Lawrence. We don't know if any of these rumored actors will become attached to the project, but what roles will they play if they are officially cast?
If you're unfamiliar with the Manson murders in general, the large number of participants lead to uncertainty over which real-life individuals would need to be portrayed on film, aside from instigator Charles Manson and the most famous victim, Sharon Tate. However Tarantino's project winds up covering the murders, there will be many roles to cast.
In the final film I have no doubt we will see some unconventional choices; some actors we might envision for certain roles might play someone else entirely. It's best to keep an open mind this early in the game. First, let's see the real people we'll be watching on screen.
The Manson Family's Main Victims
The timeline of the Manson murders is pretty simple, as they all happened in five weeks. How many crimes we see in Tarantino's film will depend on how in-depth he wants to go with Manson's history, his ambitions, and his plan for Helter Skelter.
To sum up the Manson crimes, here is the 1969 timeline:
- Manson shoots Bernard Crowe on July 1
- Family member Bobby Beausoleil tortures and murders Gary Hinman between July 25-27
- Family members murder Sharon Tate, Abigail Folger, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, Stephen Parent, and Tate's unborn child on August 9
- Family members murder Rosemary and Leno LaBianca on August 10
The Key Members In The Manson Family
The Manson family featured more than three dozen members at its height, but only a few rose participated when the time came to execute his vision for the first stage of an apocalyptic race war – a plan he called Helter Skelter. The following people were the key members of the Manson family who proved their devotion to their idol by committing murder.
Brunner, the first family member, met Manson in 1965 while serving as a library assistant at the University of California - Berkeley. The pair quickly became lovers and Brunner gave birth to a son named Valentine in 1968. She began recruiting more followers soon afterwards.
Long before the murders, Brunner was arrested for a number of offenses including indecent exposure, armed robbery, and credit card theft. She was ultimately incarcerated after the murder of Gary Hinman and a shootout with fellow family members in Hawthorne, California. She was sentenced to 20 years to life, but was paroled in 1977.
Susan "Sadie" Atkins
Atkins was sentenced to prison after her role in family murders such as the murder of Gary Hinman and the Tate and LaBianca murders. Her lawyers stated Manson's desire to execute Helter Skelter provided Atkins' motivation to participate in the murders and continue following his ideals. She ultimately received a death sentence in 1971 for her role in the murders, later commuted to life in prison. She died from brain cancer while in prison, in September 2009.
Charles "Tex" Watson
Watson was a central member of the Manson family. In addition to being a key player in the Tate murders, he also participated in the LaBianca murders. Watson was arrested in Texas after attempting to flee the state of California and was sentenced to death in 1971 (later commuted to life in prison). He remains incarcerated in California and was denied parole for the 17th time in 2016.
Patricia "Katie" Krenwinkel
Krenwinkel met Manson in 1967 and joined the family on an 18-month drug and sex binge that ranged across the American West. Upon returning to California, she took place in multiple murders that were influenced by Manson including the Tate murders and the LaBianca murders. She was sentenced to death (later commuted to life in prison) in 1971 and remains incarcerated in California. She was denied parole for the 14th time in 2017.
Bobby "Cupid" Beausoleil
Beausoleil was also sentenced to death in 1969 (later commuted to life in prison) for his role in the murder of Gary Hinman. Beausoleil was influenced by Manson to murder Hinman alongside Susan Atkins and Mary Brunner claiming that Hinman owed Manson money and property. He is currently incarcerated in California and was denied parole for the 18th time in 2016.
Steve "Clem" Grogan
Grogan was often referred to by the family as being mentally handicapped, so he wasn't involved in the most notorious Manson murders. He was ultimately sentenced to death, however, for assisting in the murder of ranch hand Donald Shea, who was killed in 1969 but whose body wasn't found until 1977. Grogan's sentence was eventually overturned to life in prison; he was paroled in 1985.
Despite being a Manson follower (and being present for multiple murders), Kasabian didn't actually kill anyone. During the Tate murders, she was instructed to wait by the car and witnessed the murders from outside of the house. She did not participate in the LaBianca murders, but was present. She fled to New Hampshire from the Manson compound and later became the state's key witness after Susan Atkins refused an offer of immunity in order to testify.
Casting Rumors So Far
News of this project is still very fresh, but we already have some casting rumors surrounding who might appear in this ambitious Tarantino project.
Rumors are already circulating that Tarantino has reached out to #MargotRobbie for the role of the slain actress, Sharon Tate, so it seems at this point that the Tate murders will be a focal point. Robbie would make the most sense for this role based purely on appearance, but we also can't overlook her acting abilities. Robbie has already proven her versatility with lead roles in films such as The Wolf of Wall Street, Focus, and Suicide Squad.
Aside from Robbie, mention of #JenniferLawrence was first thought to mean she was being sought to play Tate. However, she could also potentially be up for roles such as Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkle, Linda Kasabian, or Mary Brunner.
The casting talk surrounding Pitt suggests that he isn't being sought to play a Manson family member (or Manson himself), but that he's going to play the lead detective in the Sharon Tate case. If the movie doesn't focus solely on the Tate murders, Pitt could potentially be up for Vincent Bugliosi, the lead prosecutor in the Manson trials.
Samuel L. Jackson
As a longtime Tarantino collaborator, I'm sure Jackson will have a lead role of some sort in this project. However, given that Manson's Helter Skelter intentions were racially charged, I doubt that Jackson will be involved in the family in any way. My guess is a character will be created for him or he will play someone involved in the investigations or prosecution of the Manson family.
Who Would Be Awesome Additions To The Movie?
You can't make a movie about Charles Manson without finding an actor to play Manson himself, so there's a lot to think about regarding who else might join the cast. If we look at other frequent Tarantino collaborators, names like Leonardo DiCaprio, Walton Goggins, and Christoph Waltz come to mind.
Other interesting actors would potentially make an amazing Charles Manson. Actors like Joaquin Phoenix, Evan Peters, Billy Crudup, Paul Dano, Steven Ogg, or even Jeffrey Dean Morgan would be fantastic choices. Aside from Manson, we can't forget there are quite a few male members of the Manson family that will have to be cast.
As for the female roles within the Manson family, there are a lot of great choices at hand regarding frequent Tarantino collaborators. Actresses such as Uma Thurman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rose McGowan, and Zoe Bell would all be worthy considerations for the roles of Manson's trusted women. The only issue is that the eldest woman in the Manson Family at the time of the murders was Mary Brunner, who was only 25.
Only time will tell as more information about this project is unveiled, but Tarantino definitely has a lot of considerable choices when it comes to casting. Like I mentioned before, it will pretty much just depend on how far in depth he plans to go into Helter Skelter.
Who would you like to see cast in Quentin Tarantino's Charles Manson project? Leave a comment and let us know!
(Source: Entertainment Tonight)