Matt Smith has been careful to choose a variety of different roles since making his name as the eccentric Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who. He’s played comic relief parts in the likes of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and he’s played royalty in Netflix’s The Crown, but his next role is going to be as far from the child-friendly sci-fi environs of the TARDIS as you can get. That’s because word has it that the actor is in talks to play notorious serial killer Charles Manson.
Tracking Board is reporting that Smith is the top choice to play Manson in The Family, set to be helmed by American Psycho‘s Mary Harron. The project has been in the wind for the past two years, with the synopsis for the pic as follows:
“An examination of the infamous Manson Family murders through the eyes of graduate student Karlene Faith as she works with three young, brainwashed women who were part of the cult.”
The site goes on to point out that Detroit actress Hannah Murray and Imposters star Marianne Rendón are also in talks, being eyed to play Leslie Van Houten and Susan Atkins, respectively, two followers of Manson’s cult, known as “the Manson family.” The cult were ultimately convicted of committing nine murders in the 1960s, while Manson himself died in jail last November.
You might think that Smith is a left-field choice to play such a role, but if you look at his previous work on stage, it might make more sense. Smith portrayed Patrick Bateman, as played by Christian Bale in the movie version, in the American Psycho musical back when it debuted in London in 2013. It’s possible, then, that Harron was familiar with his performance there and decided to cast him in her new film based on that.
Production on The Family is set to start in Los Angeles in March. In the meantime, you can catch Matt Smith in The Crown season 2, which is now on Netflix.