Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) has signed on to play Charles Manson in The Family, the directorial debut of writer Scott Kosar (The Crazies). Kosar says the film is much more about the forming of The Manson Family than the murders they’re famous for:
“The movie won’t focus on the Manson murders. Nor is it a Manson biopic. It’s a family biopic. A movie about a surrogate family of wayward teenagers who, through extraordinary circumstances, came together and were transformed into the most notorious American family of the 20th century. Hence the title.”
After the break, you’ll find further elaboration from Kosar on his approach to depicting the “unconventional” family in question.
Kosar explained to Shock Till You Drop:
“A very unconventional unit, but a family nonetheless. It is not a horror film, though the subject is inherently horrific. The goal is to do, finally, after forty years, the first authentic film about the so-called Manson Family. Unlike other films on the subject, The Family will also spend time getting to know the victims, particularly Sharon Tate, who will be portrayed very sympathetically. I don’t think a responsible movie can be made about this subject without humanizing the victims, which must be done in order to truly convey – as much as a film is able to – the enormity of the tragedy.
This won’t be a slasher film, but it won’t gloss over the violence either. It’s a film about an American taboo that has never been dramatized with any balance or accuracy. Bugliosi-based films accurately deal with the prosecution of ‘the Family.’ My film will concern the family itself. Who they were and what their lives were like with Manson.”
The Manson Family is clearly a subject of personal fascination for Kosar, which probably is a good thing for the film. I’ve never been a big fan of the “I will succeed where so many have failed” mentality. But if Kosar harnesses that into something constructive, all is forgiven.
The story’s certainly there, even prior to the murders. Out on parole from his first prison sentence in 1958, singer/songwriter Manson employed the sounds of the steel guitar, the philosophy of a hippie Scientologist, and the charsima of a cult leater to attract a group of young, female followers. Eventually these devotees reportedly acted as servants to Manson and his friend, Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys.
I like Kwanten for the role. His abs alone inspire the urge to declare allegiance. And as evidenced in True Blood, Kwanten will certainly be able to capture the sillier side of Manson’s personality. Observe: