Could Tarantino Handle The Real Life Manson Story?

Quentin Tarantino doesn’t make movies lightly. Each one seems to go through years of prep work and pre-production before he finally commits a single moment to film. The results may sometimes be mixed, but you can’t fault him for not having a plan.

So it’s interesting to hear the next project he’s reported to commit to is based on the Manson Family murders, the horrific crimes committed by Charles Manson and those under his influence in 1969. The story says the Weinstein brothers, Harvey and Bob, would be involved in some manner and that Tarantino has approached Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lawrence to star in the movie.

It’s an unusual development because Tarantino is so well known for creating his own worlds. All his stories have taken place outside our own reality. Jackie Brown is probably the most grounded of the bunch, but that’s not saying much when you put it up against Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, The Hateful Eight and others.

I’ll admit I’d be curious to see if Tarantino can retain any of the real-life story’s elements (retold remarkably in a past season of Karina Longworth’s excellent You Must Remember This podcast. Start here and work your way through the whole series.) The violence and characters in Tarantino’s stories are usually accentuated and dramatized right up to the point – and sometimes beyond – where they become a caricature. While that might work for a fictional history of a German hunting battalion behind enemy lines in WWII, it might not when constrained by the need to adhere somewhat to reality.

Tarantino, for all his faults, is someone with a unique cinematic vision. How that vision could be used to interpret and retell real events remains to be seen.

2 Comments on “Could Tarantino Handle The Real Life Manson Story?

  1. Pingback: This Week on Cinematic Slant – Chris Thilk

  2. I have to check out that podcast in your article. I’m super curious about Tarantino’s take on Manson’s reign of Terror as well. His portrayal of violence in film has always been intentionally embellished and unrealistically excessive for cathartic and cinematic flare. But he’s going to need to bring some realism to this story.

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