The death of Charles Manson late last year has lead to resurgence in the cult leader's presence in pop culture and the minds of the public. Most notably, Quentin Tarantino is currently prepping his ninth film, which is not strictly about Manson, but is set in 1969 Los Angeles during the Manson family murders. While that film will be the subject of much discussion, there is an independent film in the works that will focus firmly on the Manson family, titled The Family. For the role of the notorious Charles Manson, the film is eyeing Doctor Who's Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith.
Matt Smith is currently in talks to play Charles Manson in The Family, which is coming from the same team that crafted the serial killer classic, American Psycho: director Mary Harron and screenwriter Guinevere Turner. The film's story will be told via flashbacks, following a grad student named Faith as she works with three members of the Manson family: Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel and Susan Atkins. The film will be taking its inspiration from two different books: The Family, by Ed Sanders, and The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Van Houten: Life Beyond the Cult, by Karlene Faith.
As with any film dealing with the cult leader, the casting of Charles Manson is crucial. He has to be terrifying, but also charismatic, charming and manipulative. The audience needs to be afraid of him, but also believe that someone could be tricked into following him. This would certainly be an interesting role for Matt Smith and quite the contrast to his work on Doctor Who. Along with Smith's potential casting, The Tracking Board also reported that in talks to join the actor in the film are Hannah Murray (best known to audiences as Gilly on Game of Thrones), who would play Leslie Van Houten, and Marianne Rendón, who would take on the role of Susan Atkins.
The Manson family murders were a shocking and pivotal moment in American history, and there is an argument to be made that the tale of them has never been well and fully told on screen. Telling the story via flashback after the three women are incarcerated is an interesting approach and will hopefully provide something unique and interesting. Also, with the female roles being the lens through which we will see Manson and his followers, it is encouraging that we will be getting female voices writing and directing the film. Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner have already proved their skill at taking on such dark subject matter in American Psycho, so they are more than up to the task of delivering here.
Streaming fans can currently see Matt Smith as Prince Philip in Netflix's critically acclaimed series, The Crown. There is currently no release date set for The Family, but production is set to start in March.