Quentin Tarantino has long vowed to retire after finishing 10 films, a plan he most recently reiterated at an Adobe conference late last year. Now, with eight films behind him—the last was 2015’s The Hateful Eight—the director has set his sights on his penultimate project. And, plot twist, it’s not the long-awaited Kill Bill sequel. Instead, it’s a reimagining of the Manson family murders in 1969—the brutal killing of pregnant actress Sharon Tate that remains a morbid obsession in Hollywood. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Tarantino has nearly finished the screenplay for the project and begun discussing casting the film.
Among those rumored to be on Tarantino’s shortlist are longtime collaborator Brad Pitt, who has appeared in films across the writer-director’s career including the Tony Scott-directed True Romance and Inglourious Basterds; Jennifer Lawrence, who reportedly turned down the role in Hateful Eight that ultimately went to Jennifer Jason Leigh because of Lawrence's obligations with Hunger Games and Joy; Samuel L. Jackson, who has appeared in six of Tarantino’s eight films thus far; and, as Deadline reported late Tuesday, Margot Robbie, who would be make her Tarantino debut with the film and is also, conveniently, a dead-ringer for the late Sharon Tate, then the wife of director Roman Polanski. And while the script is still undergoing some edits, according to the Hollywood Reporter, it focuses on Tate, who was eight months pregnant when she was murdered by the Manson girls at her Laurel Canyon home.
This wouldn’t be the first time Tarantino has embellished on a historical event: With Inglourious Basterds, he reimagined the demise of Nazi Germany, while both Hateful Eight and Django Unchained used the backdrop of the Civil War and the antebellum south, respectively, to riff on Western genre tropes. And it wouldn’t be the first time an artist has explored the Manson family mythos, an ongoing fixation in Hollywood.
Last summer’s breakout novel, Emma Cline’s The Girls features a Manson-esque cult that goes on to commit a gruesome murder, though Manson’s name is never mentioned outright. There was also the short-lived David Duchovny drama Aquarius, which ran from 2015 to 2016, and revolved around the Manson family. Kate Bosworth is also reportedly attached to a Sharon Tate biopic by her director husband, Michael Polish.
Tarantino has long been interested in eschewing historical accuracy in favor of puncturing assumptions about film genres and, in particular, the mechanics of violence. So an interpretation of the Tate-LaBianca murders might be the most natural next step in his filmography. He’s already set about the fall of Hitler, so why not Charles Manson?
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