Welcome to Producer’s Chair, a mini-column in which Editor-in-Chief Michael Roffman offers his own career advice to artists and various figureheads in the film and music industry. In this installment, senior writer Randall Colburn short-lists actors and actresses who should be cast in Quentin Tarantino’s new project on the Manson Family.
On Tuesday, it was announced that Quentin Tarantino’s penultimate movie (should he adhere to his 10-film cap) would center around the Manson Family and the Tate/LaBianca murders. This is a bit of a surprise as Tarantino’s pulpy, comical, hyper-violent style could resonate as tasteless when you’re talking about real-life brutality (seriously, read 1974’s Helter Skelter — the definitive Manson chronicle — and then tell me you wanna see that shit onscreen). But Tarantino’s earned our trust by now, and we trust that whatever his interpretation is, it’ll be a striking one.
Along with the announcement were reports that Tarantino was already courting the likes of Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, Margot Robbie, and Samuel L. Jackson for roles. Sources say Pitt is being sought to play a detective and that Lawrence is not being discussed for the role of murdered Hollywood starlet Sharon Tate (that role is allegedly being reserved for Robbie). There’s no word as to who Jackson might play. And, frankly, we’re not sure, either. The Manson story is, more or less, a story of youth, while his major players tend to be a touch, say, long in the tooth.
That points to a story exploring the Manson Family from an alternative angle. What that is, who knows, but he’s still clearly going to need a top-notch cast to round out the family. And that gives him a unique opportunity to draw upon the deep pool of talented, young performers currently tearing up Hollywood. Below, you’ll find our picks for which of those young talents could very well play some of the story’s key players. Some you might find on the A-list, some maybe not. As a number of his collaborators can tell you, Tarantino can make anyone a star.
Our list doesn’t speculate on the intangible characters (the detectives never played much of a role in the narrative of the Manson Family Murders as we know it; sorry, Brad), but rather on those who played a key part in the tragedy. That includes the Manson Family, but also those who were drawn into their orbit in the years both before and after the events of August 8th and 9th of 1969.
And, yes, we still found a role for Michael Madsen.