Charles Manson has been portrayed on film many times, and the Manson Family has had more than a few cinematic representations, too. But The Machinist writer Scott Kosar has been working on a script called The Family, which he intends as a biopic — in fact, the definitive biopic — of the Manson Family. He’s preparing to direct the film as well, and has Ryan Kwanten set to star.

STYD talked to Scott Kosar, who had quite a bit to say about the film:

The movie won’t focus on the Manson murders. Nor is it a Manson biopic. It’s a family biopic. A movie about a surrogate family of wayward teenagers who, through extraordinary circumstances, came together and were transformed into the most notorious American family of the 20th century. Hence the title.

That aspect has merit. Look at this photo of the Manson family. They don’t look like killers, or even a cult. You could mistake that for a picture of some group of friends, extras from Dazed & Confused, or maybe Broken Social Scene. Portraying them as kids — messed up, lost, very misled kids — could be worthwhile. (Don’t take my wording there to be indicative as forgiving of those who committed the family’s horrible crimes.)

Scott Kosar goes on to say that it is not a horror film, despite the “inherently horrific” subject matter. And the Family won’t be the only focus of the film, which sounds as if it may benefit from years of research on Mr. Kosar’s part.

The goal is to do, finally, after forty years, the first authentic film about the so-called Manson Family. Unlike other films on the subject, The Family will also spend time getting to know the victims, particularly Sharon Tate, who will be portrayed very sympathetically. I don’t think a responsible movie can be made about this subject without humanizing the victims, which must be done in order to truly convey – as much as a film is able to – the enormity of the tragedy. This won’t be a slasher film, but it won’t gloss over the violence either.

He maintains that while the persecution of the family has been well addressed and documented, this will be the project to demonstrate “who they were and what their lives were like with Manson.”

Casting will be everything. Not being a True Blood watcher, I can’t say if Ryan Kwanten is right for the role, though I like what I’ve seen of him in Red Hill. But Manson was kind of small, definitely scrawny. In the ’60s and ’70s he looked like a shorter Jeremy Davies, the most appropriate actor to be cast as Manson so far. I’m not sure what Kwanten will bring to the part, but I’ll have to see him in action before I’m really ready to buy it.

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