Monday, July 29, 2019

Tarantino's Manson Family, Hippies, Actors' Children, and Child Actors

In 1969, sometimes you were one. I was a hippie that worked, not the usual kind. 
I wore long hair, had butterflies on my shirts, had a baby, attended university, and had a job.

You might have loved hippies, or you might have hated them.

 But you could not ignore us.

Or these cult followers who were called "hippies" by the media. And Tarantino seems to hate and love and hate them.

Tate Killers: Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel.

The Manson Family

The movie Manson followers.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is set against the backdrop of the Manson Family murders, hippies, and 1969. Quentin Tarantino harvested the corn fields of Hollywood and beyond to gather a crop of former child actors and children of actors to play in his ninth film.

Here are some of the connections that have been mentioned by the media.

Harley Quinn Smith is the daughter of writer/director Kevin Smith and actress/reporter Jennifer Schwalbach Smith. She was named after the Batman villain Harley Quinn. In Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Smith plays a Manson girl. Smith made her acting debut in her father's film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, by portraying the elder Smith's usual character, Silent Bob, as a three-year-old child.

Maya Hawke is the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman. She is Flower Child (apparently modeled after Linda Kasabian) in the Manson Family. She's appearing in season 3 of the Netflix hit Stranger Things, playing an "alternative girl" named Robin.

Dallas Jay Hunter plays Linda Kasabian, a former member of the Manson Family who accompanied Watson, Atkins and Krenwinkel to the murders at Polanski's home -- and later became a star witness in their subsequent murder trials. Or was Hunter playing Kasabian? Some commentaries say that Maya Hawke played the Kasabian character. Oh well, it is a fiction film.

Madisen Beaty plays Manson Family's Katie (the nickname for Patricia Krenwinkel). Beaty has appeared in over 65 theater shows while growing up in Colorado, and was in her first film at 11.

Mikey Madison plays Susan "Sadie" Atkins, the "scariest of the Manson girls," the one who apparently stabbed Sharon Tate, killed her unborn baby, and told her cellmate she drank Tate's blood. Madison was 19 at the time of filming Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

Dakota Fanning plays Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a Manson Family member and Gerald Ford presidential assassination attempter. Fanning has been a professional actor since the age of five. Her filmography is extensive.

Victoria Pedretti plays Lulu, the nickname for Manson Family member and convicted murderer Leslie Van Houten, who was 19 at the time of the slayings.

Austin Butler plays Tex Watson, one of the Tate killers. Anaheim-born actor Butler's journey to Hollywood began at the age of 13 when he was spotted by an agent at the Orange County Fair. According to the real Tex Watson he met Manson at the house of Dennis Wilson after the Beach Boys drummer hitched a lift from Watson and invited Watson into Wilson's home.

James Landry Hébert (Stranger Things) plays Steve "Clem" Grogan, a member of the Manson Family who was convicted of the August 1969 killing of Spahn ranch hand Donald Shea, which occurred weeks after the Sharon Tate murders.

Margaret Qualley is the daughter of model-turned-actor Andie MacDowell and former model Paul Qualley. She plays Pussycat or Cat or Kitty Cat in the Manson Family, who catches the eye of Brad Pitt's Cliff.  Her breakthrough movie acting began when she was 18 in Gia Coppola's Palo Alto (2013). Qualley plays a character based on Manson Family member Kathryn "Kitty" Lutesinger, the girlfriend of convicted murderer Bobby Beausoleil.

Lena Dunham (Girls) portrays Catherine "Gypsy" Share, a follower of Manson who did not participate in the Sharon Tate murders.

Auburn, Maine, native Breanna Wing, Edward Little High School graduate of 2007, where she played field hockey, lacrosse and acted in the drama club, plays the hitchhiker Cheyenne whom Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) picks up in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

Logie Award winner Damon Herriman began his career as a child actor in his native Australia. He started booking commercial jobs at the age of eight, and by ten he was working in TV, playing the part of Frank Errol in WWII drama series The Sullivans. Herriman plays Charles Manson in the Tarantino film.

Dreama Walker plays the 1960s singer and actor Connie Stevens, who was Sharon Tate's neighbor and the wife of James Stacy at the time. Walker graduated from high school in 2004, and began appearing in movies in 2006, including for Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino in 2008.

Former Justified star Timothy Olyphant plays James Stacy an actor who starred in the 1960s TV Western Lancer as the brother of Wayne Maunder's character. Stacy was also briefly married to Connie Stevens.

The late Beverly Hills 90210 actor Luke Perry plays Wayne Maunder, a star of CBS' late-1960s Western series Lancer, who in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is a co-star of Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Rick Dalton.

Rachel Redleaf plays Mama Cass of The Mamas and the Papas, seen during the Playbook Mansion Party with Michelle Philips and Steve McQueen. Redleaf began acting in community theater at age four.

Rebecca Rittenhouse (The Mindy Project) plays The Mamas and the Papas singer Michelle Phillips.

Damian Lewis (Billions) plays actor Steve McQueen.

Rumer Willis is the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. She plays Joanna Pettet, the English actor who was at Sharon Tate's home to have lunch, just hours before Tate and four others were brutally murdered by followers of Charles Manson. Rumer Willis made her acting debut in Now and Then (1995) at the age of five. She then played her mother's daughter in Striptease (1996), and in her dad's film The Whole Nine Yards (2000).

Actor Mike Moh plays kung-fu master Bruce Lee, who had trained Sharon Tate for her fight scenes in one of her movies, and gets in a fight with Cliff Booth.

Nicholas Hammond, who played Friedrich in The Sound of Music, plays actor turned TV director Sam Wanamaker.

Russian-born actor Costa Ronin plays Voytek Frykowski (a.k.a. Wojciech Frykowski), the Polish actor who was killed along with others in Roman Polanski's home on L.A.'s Cielo Drive.

Samantha Robinson plays coffee heiress and Manson family victim Abigail Folger, who was involved with Wojciech Frykowski. Robinson was born in New York City, but spent the majority of her childhood in London, where she studied at the world-renowned Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

Polish actor Rafal Zawierucha (Warsaw 44) plays the young Roman Polanski, who was filming a movie  (The Day of the Dolphin) in Europe when his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was killed.

(The film is executively produced by Joseph E. Levine, the great-uncle of my friend Philip Levine, an intellectual astrology author. It is amazing how close these "coincidences" can materialize.)

Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) plays actress Sharon Tate, who was eight and a half months pregnant when she was murdered by the Charles Manson Family. Her husband was director Roman Polanski.

Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild) plays celebrity hair stylist and Manson Family murder victim Jay Sebring (né Thomas Kummer).

Bruce Dern plays George Spahn, the 80-year-old California rancher who traded sex for rent and allowed the Manson Family to live on his property.

Totally fictional are Leonardo DiCaprio who plays a washed-up Western actor Rick Dalton (based partially on actor Burt Reynolds) who lives next door to actress (and true-life murder victim) Sharon Tate; and Brad Pitt who plays his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (based partially on actor-director Hal Needham). As DiCaprio often tells folks in the media, his parents are still hippies.

Although Westworld's James Marsden’s portrayal of Burt Reynolds was cut from Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, you will still find his name in the credits. Reynolds, who died in September 2018 at the age of 82, was originally cast in the movie to play George Spahn, a rancher who allowed Charles Manson and his followers to stay on his property. Reynolds died before getting the chance to film the movie, and the role went to Bruce Dern instead.

What will it mean for these folks to be in this movie? Good luck for their careers? Or bad luck?

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, as well as IMDb and Wikipedia.

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