A piece of Hollywood news has broken that, for cinephiles and fans of midcentury Hollywood life, will be a breath of fresh air in the biopic landscape. Kate Bosworth will star in a Sharon Tate biopic that will be helmed by her husband, Michael Polish. Polish, an indie filmmaker who's tackled historical figures before (see his adaptation of Jack Kerouac's Big Sur ASAP), will also count the Tate project as his fourth collaboration with Bosworth, who is also his wife. While the people behind the biopic are interesting enough, it's the subject of the biopic that is of essential note and recognition: Tate herself. Tate is an infamous name in Hollywood, and her life is intertwined in the fabric of celebrity culture in such a way that it demands exploration in the biopic format.
For those uninitiated, Tate is the most well-known victim of Charles Manson and his followers. Murdered in her home, along with a few close friends, Tate's life and the life of her child were cut tragically short by Manson's followers. Tate was the wife of director Roman Polanski and herself the star of iconic '60s films like Valley of the Dolls and The Americanization of Emily. She is often remembered for her stunning beauty and her marriage to Polanski. But her life is overshadowed by her death, and, often, it's only spoken about in the kind of detail relevant to filling out someone else's story: Manson's.
Returning the narrative of Tate's life and death to her own viewpoint would be a major reclamation of agency for Tate's legacy. Her life has been examined infrequently. On the podcast You Must Remember This, host Karina Longworth told listeners about Tate's life in more detail than is often offered in articles. We may have gotten a better image of Tate, but her chapter was still one in a series of episodes dedicated to Manson. The woman herself needs to have a chance to speak. The enigmatic allure of Tate remains, but she is defined in the zeitgeist in terms of a man — specifically, the man responsible for ordering her murder. This feels short-sighted. There's much more to Tate than combing over the details of her murder.
A biopic focused on Tate would allow for a deeper examination of the woman we remember in fragments, that is spoken of almost apocryphally. We could examine a woman, shrouded in mystery, and perhaps better understand what life was like for any woman in Hollywood in the late '60s, at the end of the American counterculture and in the middle of the Second Wave of the feminist movement.
In short, a Tate biopic would be monumental. There's a precedent for success in the intersection between female interiority and macabre ending thanks to the interest and accolades for this year's Christine . As for Tate's unique case, a biopic could be a fascinating avenue to remember one of Hollywood's eternal stars.
Image: Getty Images; Giphy (2)