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Quentin Tarantino’s Next Movie Is About the Notorious Manson Family Murders

Charles Manson and Quentin Tarantino
Getty Images / The Weinstein Co.

Major news for movie-lovers: We know what Quentin Tarantino‘s next project is and, hoo boy, does it sound intriguing.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, it’s a true-crime story about a set of brutal murders committed in 1969 by members of a notorious cult whose leader was the infamous Charles Manson. This will be Tarantino’s first attempt at a non-fiction story.

Sharon Tate
Getty Images

The most well-known victim of the “Manson Family Murders” was Sharon Tate (right), and the movie figures to focus at least partly on her story. Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski, was a popular actress and eight months pregnant when she was killed.

QT has just about finished the script, and some (very early) casting rumors include Jennifer Lawrence and Brad Pitt. Lawrence is apparently not up for the Tate role, so she may be aiming for one of Manson’s more prominent followers, Susan Atkins or Mary Brunner. It’s unclear who Pitt might play, though Manson is an obvious pick.

Not too long ago, Tarantino had said he’d prefer to make either a gangster or horror movie next. “I think maybe the one genre left might be a 1930s-gangster movie, that kind of John Dillinger thing,” he said. “And if I had all the time in the world, I would love to make a really, really scary horror film, like The Exorcist.”

A movie about a series of gruesome killings could certainly qualify as a horror movie, and maybe that’s the kind of tone he’ll be going for here. The elements of the genre are all there, from the terrifying patriarch, Manson, to his crazed followers, which he called “the Family,” to the horrific nature of the killings.

On the night of August 8, 1969, Manson ordered several of his followers — Atkins, Tex Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel. Linda Kasabianto — to go to Polanski’s house in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles. With Kasabianto serving as lookout, they shot and stabbed five people: Tate, Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger, Jay Sebring and Steven Parent.

The next night Manson accompanied the Family (this time along with Leslie van Houten and Steve “Clem” Grogan) to the house of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. There, they murdered the LaBiancas in particularly brutal fashion (details here).

The most famous telling of the Manson family murders is probably L.A. district attorney Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders. Perhaps Tarantino has been using it as inspiration or a guide as he finishes the script.

This will be Tarantino’s first project since 2015’s The Hateful Eight. Pitt worked with the writer-director on 2009’s Inglourious Basterds, which while definitely not a true story — more of a reimagining of history — maybe comes closest of all of Tarantino’s films to a real-life crime tale.

However it ends up, it’ll go right to the top of our must-see list.

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