Quentin Tarantino swears he's not making a Manson Family movie, but he's not not making one. On Wednesday, June 6, it was announced that Tarantino cast Dakota Fanning to play Squeaky Fromme in his upcoming '60s-themed flick, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. The film will star Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as an aging actor and his stunt double trying to get by in Los Angeles. Tarantino also cast Margot Robbie in the role of Sharon Tate, the Hollywood darling who was murdered by cult leader Charles Manson and his followers. Tate was 26 years old at the time, and pregnant with her first child with controversial filmmaker Roman Polanski.
Fanning's intriguing new role has fans speculating there's more Manson content in the film than Tarantino is willing to admit. Fromme was a "Manson Girl," or a young, attractive follower of the murderous cult leader. In 1975, she was arrested for attempting to assassinate President Gerald Ford. She received a life sentence, but she was released on parole in 2008.
Fanning's role isn't the only interesting piece of Tarantino casting news: Damian Lewis, Luke Perry, and Emile Hirsch have also been cast in Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. Deadline reports Lewis will play actor Steve McQueen while Hirsch will portray Jay Sebring, a hairstylist that died alongside Tate in 1969. Interestingly, details on Perry's role haven't been released. Both Deadline and Vulture report he's been cast in the role of Scott Lancer, but that's not an actual person. It was, however, the fictional alter-ego of actor Wayne Maunder. The series Lancer ran from 1968-70, and was briefly picked up again in 1971. Whether Perry is playing Maunder or his Scott Lancer character is not clear. What is clear, though, is that this film is shaping up to be something special. Clifton Collins, Jr., Nicholas Hammond, and Keith Jeffries — a new Tarantino staple — have also been cast as obscure '60s personalities.
The Once Upon a Time In Hollywood cast also includes era-appropriate star Burt Reynolds, the supernaturally handsome Timothy Olyphant, Michael Madsen, and of course, Tarantino veteran Tim Roth. The film will be "a Pulp Fiction-like tapestry of stories set in LA," per Deadline, and will follow DiCaprio and Pitt's characters — one of whom lives next door to Tate. Cue the warning music.
The real Squeaky Fromme hasn't weighed in on the casting news, though we're not surprised. For the most part, she lays low, and it's notable that she never really disavowed the Manson Family.
While Manson passed away in prison in 2017, several other members of the cult are still in jail for murders and other crimes from their 1969-1970 spree. Obviously, the murder of Tate and the three other poor souls at her home shook Hollywood, so it'll be interesting to see where Tarantino takes the film. After all, he's got an immensely talented cast and the perfect Hollywood setting.
Let's hope he uses his filmmaking powers for good.