How do you follow-up career-defining roles as two of England’s all-time favorite heroes: The Doctor and Prince Phillip? By becoming (arguably) the most-hated individual in American history, Charles Manson. Makes sense, right? That’s the challenge facing actor Matt Smith, who’s just coming off two seasons of exceptional performances as the Queen’s consort-husband in Netflix’s The Crown.
In less than 10 years, Smith has amassed an impressive set of credits — primarily within British TV — and also a growing list of film roles too. According to TrackingBoard, Smith will soon summon all of his considerable acting skills to portray Manson, during the madman’s rapid rise to infamy in the late 1960s. It’s a huge test for any actor, as Manson’s personality is best described as mercurial and unpredictable (see: Nazi symbol carved into his own forehead) — it’ll be challenging just to remain above parody.
The project, working-title of The Family, is an independent adaptation of two non-fiction books: “The Family” by Ed Sanders, and Karlene Faith’s “The Long Prison Journey of Leslie van Houten: Life Beyond The Cult.” The story follows Faith as a grad student, working with several female members of Manson’s cult; told through flashbacks after these women are incarcerated. The team behind the film includes Mary Harron and screenwriter Guinevere Turner, who previously collaborated on American Psycho (2000).
This role is quite a stretch for Smith, who typically plays cultured, debonaire, and sophisticated characters — terms few would use to describe Manson. Smith will need to get deep, down into the mud to portray Manson, the role will most-certainly be gritty and dark and angry. It’s a helluva opportunity for Smith; if he pulls this off it can really elevate his career.
Can you buy the clean-shaven Smith as the grotesque-maniac Manson? Let us know in the comments down below!
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