As the 50th anniversary of the murder of '60s film star Sharon Tate approaches, Hollywood is preparing to release three very different films about the late actor. One film in particular is courting controversy — the Hilary Duff movie The Haunting of Sharon Tate. Now that the trailer for the upcoming 2019 film has arrived it's easy to see why Tate's sister, Debra, shared her disdain for the concept with People in a 2018 interview.
In the trailer, Duff's Tate is a horror movie heroine who begins to have premonitions about her own death after a man named Charlie shows up at her door. The man is Charles Manson, the cult leader who ordered several of his followers to murder Tate in 1969. The actor was 26-years-old and expecting her first child with director Roman Polanski at the time of her death. She was stabbed in her home on Aug. 9, 1969. Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Jay Sebring, and Steven Parent were also murdered by Manson and his followers in Tate's home that night.
During a Feb. 2018 interview with People, Debra explained her concerns about how the movie will depict her sister. "It doesn't matter who it is acting in it — it's just tasteless,” she told the publication. "It's classless how everyone is rushing to release something for the 50th anniversary of this horrific event."
She also took issue with the idea that her sister had premonitions before her death. "I know for a fact she did not have a premonition — awake or in a dream — that she and Jay would have their throat cut," Debra said. "I checked with all of her living friends. None of her friends had any knowledge of this. Tacky, tacky, tacky."
According to Deadline, the movie's plot is based on a quote from an interview Tate reportedly gave one year before her death in which she discussed dreaming about being murdered. The reported quote appears to be from Fate magazine, but there are no verified archives for the defunct '70s magazine online.
For Duff's part, she doesn't appear to be taking the responsibility of playing the actor lightly. In an Instagram post from Feb. 2018, the Younger star wrote, "Had the incredible opportunity of playing Sharon Tate the past two weeks in an independent movie. She was an amazing woman and it was a true honor."
The Haunting of Sharon Tate is just one of three projects about the late actor scheduled to come out this year. Additionally, there's Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood starring Margot Robbie, and Tate, starring Kate Bosworth. The latter film has Debra's full support, according to Vanity Fair, and will be about her sister's life instead of her death. Meanwhile, Tarantino's movie isn't exclusively about Tate. It's actually the story of two actors trying to make it in Hollywood in the late '60s, but Tate and Manson will figure into the events.
Even though the trailer has been released, there's no premiere date for The Haunting of Sharon Tate just yet. In addition to Duff, the movie also stars Mean Girls favorite Jonathan Bennett, Lydia Hearst, and Ben Millish. While there's no denying that the film appears to be scary, it's easy to see why Tate's family would take issue with the actor's life being turned into a horror movie narrative. For now, true crime fans will have to wait until all three films release to decide if any of them do the tragic actor's life justice.