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Charles Manson Biopic on the Way (Featuring Tom Snyder and Roger Ailes, Too)

CBS
CBS

It’s pretty unilaterally agreed that Charles Manson was a bad egg. As the leader of the hippie cult known as The Family, he terrorized Southern California with a killing spree that claimed seven lives, including that of actress and Roman Polanski spouse Sharon Tate. He was sentenced to nine consecutive lifetime sentences in prison, where he continues to hang out today. Pop culture has made no bones about its continuing fascination with this charismatic, repulsive figure and a new project will soon provide a fresh perspective on the real-life villain — with another villain along for the ride.

In 1981, trenchant newsman Tom Snyder visited Manson in prison for what he hoped would be a candid, illuminating interview. Though his show got cancelled the next year, he did land one of the more captivating video interviews in the form’s brief history, a disturbing battle of minds and wills between two determined men. A new film will dramatize the events surrounding this interview; think Frost/Nixon but with less upper lip sweat and more crazy eyes staring contests. Variety has the scoop that a film adaptation is in the works, centering on Snyder’s downward slide towards cancellation and the looming enigma of Manson. The item also notes that Snyder brought someone along with him, a young and hungry executive producer named Roger Ailes. That name may sound familiar, as the former Fox News had honcho was outed as a serial sexual abuser and real-life supervillain late last year. Presumably, the film will also function as some manner of dark origin story for Ailes.

Little else is known about the early-in-development project at present — no cast, no director, no timeline. But it’s a humdinger of a story, with plenty of built-in drama, so there’s certainly lots of potential to go around. Call me crazy, but what about William H. Macy as Manson?

A Look at Charles Manson in Movies and TV

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