Maybe Quentin Tarantino Shouldn’t Try to Tackle Real-Life Murders as His Source Material

Recommended Videos

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Quentin Tarantino is currently lining up the cast for his next movie: a take on the real-life Manson Family murders of the late 1960s. Not much is known about the project, but he’s reportedly been talking with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lawrence about coming onboard, and, most notably, in talks with Margot Robbie to play Sharon Tate.

For the unfamiliar, Tate was an actress best known for her work in Valley of the Dolls. She was married to Roman Polanski and eight months pregnant when she and four others were murdered in her home by a group of Manson’s followers in August of 1969. Her murder, like the others committed by Manson’s “family,” was extraordinarily violent, and threw all of Los Angeles into a frenzy. Manson was obsessed with celebrity status, as well as the idea of a “race war.” For all of these reasons, it’s easy to see why Tarantino is drawn to the material.

But it’s also the first time he’s choosing to work with real-life events, and for that reason, this is a little unsettling. Obviously, we don’t know what approach Tarantino will be taking, but we do have a couple of decades worth of examples to base some assumptions on. Tarantino’s brand of violence is famously so flamboyantly stylized as to border on the absurd. And when dealing with real tragedies, that’s more than a bit worrisome.

True crime is seeing a major heyday right now, and women typically make up a majority of the genre’s audience. And while stories of real-life murder can be enjoyed as entertainment, for most, the appeal is generally rooted in a respect for the victims. (Two notable examples: the podcast My Favorite Murder and the truly fantastic 12-episode series the Hollywood history podcast You Must Remember This dedicated to the Manson family.) Do we trust Tarantino to pay due respect to this sensational story?

These fears are magnified coming off of Hateful Eight, which many, even longtime fans of Tarantino, saw as overindulgent in both its violence and nostalgia–two elements that no doubt drew him to Manson–at the expense of the story. Valuing violence over story is dangerous when there are real people and real tragedy involved.

Again, we don’t know any details about the movie. Sharon Tate is said to be just “one of the stories” included. Given that Tarantino likes to make films about victims of violence seeking large-scale revenge, we don’t know who the central protagonist will be. (It seems unlikely that it would be Tate, unless he’s going to rewrite a lot of the history.) But Sharon Tate is only one of many very real people at the heart of the Manson Family murders. Obviously, we’ll wait to see what direction this heads, but personally, I’m hoping Tarantino moves forward with an appropriate degree of respect and caution.

(via THR, image: Shutterstock)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article The 10 Best Movies for Those Raunchy Teen ‘Superbad’ Vibes
Three teenage boys talk to each other after school in "Superbad"
Read Article Somehow, Wolverine Has Returned
wolverine turning down wade at a bar
Read Article A Guide to the Ups and Downs of the Disney Live-Action Remakes
Live-action Cinderella, Aladdin and Belle
Read Article What’s the Deal with Blumhouse’s New ‘Dead by Daylight’ Movie?
Characters from the game 'Dead by Daylight'
Read Article ‘Someone Like You’ Movie 2024: Where To Watch
Someone Like You movie
Related Content
Read Article The 10 Best Movies for Those Raunchy Teen ‘Superbad’ Vibes
Three teenage boys talk to each other after school in "Superbad"
Read Article Somehow, Wolverine Has Returned
wolverine turning down wade at a bar
Read Article A Guide to the Ups and Downs of the Disney Live-Action Remakes
Live-action Cinderella, Aladdin and Belle
Read Article What’s the Deal with Blumhouse’s New ‘Dead by Daylight’ Movie?
Characters from the game 'Dead by Daylight'
Read Article ‘Someone Like You’ Movie 2024: Where To Watch
Someone Like You movie
Author
Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.