The Actor: Jeremy Davies
Why?: Because Jeremy Davies, who you probably remember as nebbish translator Cpl. Upham in Saving Private Ryan, already gave us a perfect Manson. When? In the 2004 TV remake of Helter Skelter, when Davies delivered a performance that found a bridge between Manson’s unhinged aura and his knack for calculated manipulation. So good was Davies’ taped audition for the role that it began circulating around Hollywood, a testament to the transformative power of a committed performance.
Sure, Davies is 47 now — Manson was in his mid-30s in the late ‘60s — but he’s always had a baby face. And that baby face, I should note, carries an eerie resemblance to Manson, so much so that’s it been friggin’ memed. Besides, anyone can be aged 10 years in either direction, but what other living actor could articulate Manson’s tics and cadence like Davies, let alone have the commitment to fully fleshing out one of the world’s biggest monsters?
It’s a wonder Davies hasn’t already worked with Tarantino. His onscreen persona isn’t unlike that of Tarantino favorites like Steve Buscemi and Walton Goggins, both of whom consistently defy and transcend the hyper-specific traits for which they’re known. The one hiccup? In his previous turn as Manson, Davies was often given the opportunity to improvise and rewrite, a privilege that would no doubt be denied by Tarantino.