Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’s Charles Manson Says Cut Scenes Were ‘Quentin’s Writing At Its Best’

Damon Herriman’s Charles Manson in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
(Image credit: (Sony))

Charles Manson’s role in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was a lot shorter than many anticipated. If you hadn’t been looking out for it, you could have easily missed Damon Herriman’s performance as the cult leader. The Quentin Tarantino film ran on the long side already with a 2 hour and 41 minute runtime, but the auteur director initially had more scenes featuring Manson. Here’s what Herriman recently said about his cut scenes:

Given it was a four hour and 20 minute first cut, there was obviously a lot that was shot that is not in it. Everybody lost a bit of stuff in the there, including some Manson stuff. Maybe it will see the light of day. I can’t give away what it was, but it was Quentin’s writing at its best.

Did you hear that? It’s an orchestra of loud sighs from Tarantino fans. Damon Herriman certainly perks an interest for the deleted footage from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s first cut to be released – especially when he says it was some of the filmmaker’s best writing! The Charles Manson actor continued his Collider interview with these words:

There was a scene that I thought was one of the best scenes I’ve ever read in my life, just on the page, I hope that scene does get released. I genuinely don’t know if it ever will. He has shown an interest in going back to his older movies and making a longer version. Given this one was so long to start with, I think it would be a great candidate for that.

Quentin Tarantino has released extended cuts of his films before. Earlier this year, the writer/director released The Hateful Eight as a four-part miniseries on Netflix, with each episode at about 50 minutes long. He could certainly do something similar for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood considering all the leftover footage audiences haven’t yet seen. Brad Pitt even said the idea has been talked about.

Damon Herriman did clarify that his Charles Manson doesn’t have a bunch of extra unseen footage. He seems to be specifically hanging on one other scene that he calls Quentin’s best (on the page anyway). Who knows? It may not have worked in the movie as much as Tarantino expected it to, so he made the call to cut it out. Or to satisfy the main stories revolving around Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton, Brad Pitt’s Cliff Dalton and Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate, he left Manson in the background.

The actor does get to play Charles Manson more in depth in David Fincher’s Mindhunter. Damon Herriman also plays the famous criminal on the Netflix show’s second season, in 1980 when he is in prison. Each is a different take on the cult leader considering the time difference. In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, it’s 1969 and he’s at the height of his power.

Even without a focus on Charles Manson, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has been a huge success. The movie had the highest-grossing opening weekend of Quentin Tarantino’s career and has since made $313 million worldwide. It has praised by critics and could contend at the Oscars for the highly-coveted Best Picture trophy.

Stay tuned with us here on CinemaBlend as award season begins!

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.