Having been in talks for the role for a month or so, former Doctor Who star Matt Smith has been officially cast as Charles Manson in American Psycho director Mary Harron’s Charlie Says.
The film, which was previously known as The Family, focuses on the three Manson ‘Family’ women – Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten – initially sentenced to death for their part in the killings, which terrorised Los Angeles during the summer of 1969 and left nine people dead. The script, by American Psycho writer Guinevere Turner, is partially based on Karlene Faith’s book The Long Prison Journey of Leslie van Houten: Life Beyond The Cult, as well as Ed Sanders’ controversial 1971 novel, The Family.
Smith joins a strong cast that also includes Suki Waterhouse, Hannah Murray, Odessa Young, Carla Gugino, Marianne Rendon, Kaylie Carter and Merritt Wever.
“Charlie Says will focus on the three young women (Murray, Young and Rendon) who were sentenced to death following the infamous murder case of Manson (Smith). When the death penalty was lifted, their sentence became life imprisonment. One young graduate student, Karlene Faith (Wever), was sent in to teach them, and through her the film will follow their transformations as they face the reality of their horrific crimes.”
Production is scheduled to begin in Los Angeles in Spring. 2019 – which also sees the release of Quentin Tarantino’s Manson-inspired ninth film – will mark 50 years since the Manson murders.
Words: Kevan Farrow (@KevanX)