It should be fairly clear at this point that while the Manson murders are a central part of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Charles Manson is not a central figure. It’s not like he’s adapting Helter Skelter. That’s particularly clear by the casting of a relative unknown for the part. The Wrap reports that Damon Herriman has been cast as the murderous cult leader. Herriman is best known to American audiences for his recurring role on Justified.
For those unfamiliar with the plot of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the film takes place in 1969 and follows a fading Western TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) who wonder where their place in Hollywood is at the turn of the decade. Additionally, DiCaprio’s character lives next door to Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), who of course was brutally murdered by Manson’s followers.
The Wrap also reports that Once Upon a Time is continuing to expand its cast with both fictional characters and characters based on real people. Rumer Willis has been cast as British actress Joanna Pettet, Dreama Walker is playing actress and singer Connie Stevens, and Costa Ronin is set as Polish actor Voytek Frykowski, who was one of the victims of the Manson Family murder spree. Meanwhile, Margaret Qualley is playing a character named Kitty Kat, Madisen Beaty is Katie, and Victoria Pedretti is Lulu.
It’s an expansive cast for what promises to be a fairly epic movie for Tarantino that is reportedly in the vein of Pulp Fiction in terms of chronology and structure.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opens July 26, 2019 and the expansive cast also includes Lena Dunham, Maya Hawke, Timothy Olyphant, Burt Reynolds, Damian Lewis, Luke Perry, Dakota Fanning, James Marsden, Clifton Collins, Keith Jefferson, Emile Hirsch, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Scoot McNairy, Al Pacino, and Nicholas Hammond, among others.