Imagine someone in your family was brutally murdered and then for the next half-century you were constantly reminded of her horrible death, with filmmakers lining up to dramatize it on the big screen. You’d be pretty pissed off, right?
Now you’re in the shoes of Debra Tate – sister of Manson family victim Sharon Tate – who is decidedly unimpressed with Quentin Tarantino’s eagerly anticipated Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, which is reportedly about Tate’s neighbour during the Manson murders.
In a recent interview with TMZ, she came down hard on the film, saying:
“To [celebrities] it’s a paycheck and these people just don’t care. They are terribly hurtful to the actual family and all the living victims. They don’t give a shit”.
She went on to specifically criticize stars Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, accusing them of “throwing all their social responsibility to the wind.” To her credit, taking into account the views of the family of the victim is a minefield any film about a real-life tragedy has to navigate. After all, even something set beyond living memory like Titanic can arouse controversy by portraying someone as a coward to the anger of their living relatives.
Tate also criticized Hilary Duff, playing Sharon Tate in another film, saying (in response to a picture she posted on Instagram of her in costume) “What kind of trash is she? That’s just absolutely garbage. Is there any point in that?” Jennifer Lawrence, at one point rumored to be playing her sister, also caught both barrels, with Tate saying that Lawrence wasn’t “pretty enough”
While I totally sympathize with Debra, I vehemently think directors shouldn’t tiptoe around tricky subjects and that any event should be fair game. It remains to be seen whether Tarantino’s portrayal of the tragedy will honor her sister’s memory, but given his track record we can at least assume it’s going to be a very, very good film. At any rate, it’s got to be better than previous Mansonsploitation dreck like 2014’s House of Manson or 2017’s absolutely terrible Wolves at the Door.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is scheduled for a summer 2019 release, and as the project continues to come together, we’ll be sure to keep you posted on it.