It initially seems like a strange concept for a movie that focuses on two fictional characters to also feature Charles Manson, but that's exactly what's going on in Quentin Tarantino's new movie. As you probably know by now, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt star in the film, but who plays Charles Manson in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood? It's a role that some actors might not want to take on.
In the movie, out July 26, the cult leader and convicted murderer is played by Damon Herriman, an Australian actor, who has acted in a wide variety of Australian and American TV shows, including appearing on Justified throughout the series' run.
Oddly enough, the 49-year-old actor is not only about to play Manson in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but will also play him in Season 2 of the Netflix series Mindhunter, which will debut in August. It's a pretty interesting feat to be playing Charles Manson in two different projects — and in such a short period of time — but I guess if you have the look, you have the look. And Herriman does look the part of a 1969 Manson with the hair and costuming in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Herriman spoke to Entertainment Tonight in March about taking on the role, and said, "I had no idea how much I look like Charles Manson until everyone now tells me, so I don't know quite how to take it. But it led to these jobs, so I'm just going to go with it."
The actor also explained that there's "an 11-year age gap in the Mansons, so there's a slight variation both in how they look and in how the scenes are." In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Herriman is playing a 34-year-old Manson; the new season of Mindhunter is set in the late '70s and early '80s, hence that Manson being 11 years older. The movie and the show are coming out back-to-back, and Herriman explained that he also filmed them one right after the other, with Mindhunter wrapping only two weeks before he started shooting Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
That might sound like it would be rough on an actor, but Herriman managed to have a good time. "It was the most fun I've ever had, I think, on a job," he told ET about the Once Upon a Time set, adding that '60s pop music was played between shots.
Herriman isn't the only one playing a real person in the film. Margot Robbie stars at Sharon Tate, an actor who was killed by the Manson Family. As for how this story fits in with that of Rick (DiCaprio), an actor, and Cliff (Pitt), his stuntman and friend, Rick lives next door to Tate. "It’s the three classes of Hollywood," producer David Heyman told Entertainment Weekly. "There’s the high Hollywood of Sharon, the declining star of Rick, and there’s Cliff, who lives farther out and with more humble means."
Audiences will get to see how this all fits together when Once Upon a Time in Hollywood hits theaters. And Herriman will, hopefully, watch something a little lighter. He deserves it.