Quentin Tarantino rides again. The singular auteur — who continues to hint at his imminent retirement, even as he stumps for the possibility of making two more feature films — is reportedly working on what will be his ninth feature, and it’s both the perfect fit for his wild-eyed sensibilities and a perhaps totally unhinged dip into one of the worst moments in American history.
As the The Hollywood Reporter reported last night, the filmmaker is apparently lining up a new film based on the Manson Family murders, one that might reteam him with is “Inglorious Basterds” star Brad Pitt and QT newbie Jennifer Lawrence for a deep dive look inside the crime spree that rocked the country back in the summer of ’69.
Manson and his followers killed nine people, most notably on the night of August 8 when the organization attacked the inhabitants of a house in Los Angeles. Roman Polanski’s wife, actress Sharon Tate, was inside the house, eight months pregnant, and was one of the five victims killed that night. Manson and members of his cult were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1971 for these and several other murders committed during their 1969 crime spree.
Here’s everything we know so far about what could be Tarantino’s next insane project, including a possibly veiled promise from the director himself that hints at the terror to come.
Tarantino Has Already Written the Script
THR reports that the film’s screenplay was written by Tarantino, though its title is either unknown or so far unrevealed at this point. Tarantino is, per the outlet, “putting the finishing touches” in the screenplay now. The filmmaker will also direct the film, which his long-time producing partners Harvey and Bob Weinstein are “involved” with the project in some capacity.
It’s also unknown if Tarantino, who always writes his own feature material, has based the film on any existing materials surrounding Manson and his infamous family, which have sparked plenty of books, films, television shows, and even podcasts (including Karina Longworth’s excellent “You Must Remember This,” which previously tackled the case over the course of 12 excellent episodes back in 2015) over the years.
If Tarantino has adapted other material for the feature, he’ll have more than enough to wade through, though adaptation is not typically his beat. In fact, he’s only done it once before, with his work on “Jackie Brown,” which was pulled from Elmore Leonard’s novel “Rum Punch.”
Tarantino has long dabbled in imaginative historical retellings that swing off cinematic tropes, from Westerns to grindhouse features and everything in between, and it’s not at all surprising that he’d want to tell any kind of story set during this seminal time period. And the Manson Family murders are certainly the signature event of the summer of ’69, horrifying as they may still be.
It Will Pack a Star-Studded Cast
THR also adds that Tarantino is aiming for a star-packed cast for the project, including reports that he’s eager to re-team with Pitt (who is likely being pursued to play a detective in the film) and he’s already approached Lawrence to star in the film, though her possible role in the project is currently unclear.
Another name to look out for? Margot Robbie, who Deadline reports has already met with to star in the film in a pivotal role. The outlet also adds that Tarantino regular Samuel L. Jackson will “likely” also have a part in the film, but that’s a bit of a no-brainer, as the actor has so far starred in six of Tarantino’s features, including his last three.
The filmmaker loves to bring back returning favorites — amusingly, his Wikipedia page includes an entire chart dedicated to them — so there’s likely a whole slew of other actors he’s hoping to bring back into the QT fold for this one. Some names we’d love to see: Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, and Zoe Bell. The story of the Manson Family and their heinous crimes include a wide variety of characters, from Manson and his so-called “family” to their victims and those that investigated the crime and ultimately brought them to justice, so there’s plenty of room here for excellent casting.
It Will Likely Focus on Sharon Tate
At least one part of the film will focus on Tate. As THR tells it, “Script details are fuzzy but one of the stories centers on Sharon Tate, the actress and wife of director Roman Polanski who was murdered by Manson and his followers in 1969.” But don’t look to Lawrence for take on that particular role, as Deadline’s report indicates that Tarantino met with Robbie to “potentially play” the part of Tate.
That THR notes that “one of the stories” will center on Tate is compelling news, as it indicates that Tarantino will be going for a wide-ranging approach to the material. That’s sort of backed up by Variety’s report that “the focus of the pic is unclear at this time. It’s unknown whether the film will be a historical retelling about the events that occurred or if the crime is used as a backdrop for separate, intertwining stories.” We’re putting our money on intertwining stories because, again, there are plenty of stories and people involved with this heartbreaking moment in history.
Prepare Yourself for Craziness
Back in 2013, Tarantino hinted at his thoughts on a serial killer-centric film during an appearance at the Busan International Film Festival, rattling off some predictably nutty thoughts on what it would look like if he made such a film. As The Telegraph reported at the time, Tarantino told the crowd that he was afraid to ever make a project about a murderer, explaining that such a film would “reveal my sickness far too much.”
He added, “The planet Earth couldn’t handle my serial killer movie.” Prepare yourself, prepare the planet?
It Will Shoot Next Year
The project will reportedly be shopped to various studios after Labor Day, with an eye towards shooting next year, likely in the summer. Awards-friendly release date? Hello? Is that you?