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The Cast Of Charlie Says Vs. Their Real Life Manson Family Counterparts

With Netflix’s releases of Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, movies about well-known serial murders and who or what contributed to their crimes are at an all-time high. The next criminal Hollywood is examining, naturally, is Charles Manson, a criminal and cult leader who formed the Manson Family to help him carry out multiple killings, including that of actress Sharon Tate. The new biopic Charlie Says casts the focus three women who were Manson’s followers — Leslie Van Houten (Hannah Murray), Patricia Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon), and Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendón) — and how they rationalized committing diabolical acts for Manson. The movie is bound to have you feeling uneasy as Manson (Matt Smith) is depicted doing everything, including showing the women how to stab their victims.

The real Manson Girls, who were all sentenced to prison, somehow believed Mason’s sick plans for the world were for the betterment of society and that they owed him their loyalty. To portray such a dark and disturbing story based on true events and real people, director Mary Harron enlisted some of the best actors who have had budding success in recent years. So, let’s take a look at the list of stars who decided to tackle this difficult part of history and the real people they played who will forever be tied to Charles Manson.

Game of Thrones ' Hannah Murray As Leslie Van Houten

This part might be the biggest theatrical role of Murray’s career so far, but you have surely seen her face before. She has played Gilly on Game of Thrones since 2012 and she is most known for her breakout role as Cassie on the hit British teen drama series Skins.

Photo: Courtesy of IFC Films.

The Real Leslie Van Houten

Leslie Van Houten first started living with Manson at only 19 years old. She wasn’t present at the time of the Tate murders, Rolling Stone reports, but she did participate in stabbing Rosemary LaBianca 14 times during the killings the following night. In 2016, when she was up for parole, Van Houten claimed that she was under the influence of LSD and thus emotionally troubled at the time of the murders.

Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images.

Sosie Bacon Plays Patricia Krenwinkel

Sosie Bacon has been cast in a wide-range of roles over the last two years. She had a starring role on the short-lived HBO series Here and Now as a rebellious teen, but she is probably most recognized for her grunge look as Skye on 13 Reasons Why. She also recently appeared in the Netflix teen-rom The Last Summer. Her take on Patricia Krenwinkel in Charlie Says will most likely be her darkest role to date.

Photo: Courtesy of IFC Films.

The Real Patricia Krenwinkel

In 2017, BBC News reported that Patricia Krenwinkel, who is now 71, was California’s longest-serving female prisoner. Her parole has been denied 14 times. According to CBS News, Krenwinkel confessed to stabbing one of the Manson Family murder victims named Abigail Folger on August 9, 1969. She also is said to have participated in the murders of the Leno and Rosemary LaBianca the following night.

Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images.

Marianne Rendón Plays Susan Atkins

You might not have heard of Marianne Rendón before. But, when you see her act, you will definitely be impressed with her work. The actress’s career recently began in 2017 when she landed her first role. She has been cast in three other projects since, including playing another member of the Manson Family, Susan Atkins, in Charlie Says. Her breakout role was playing con artist Jules in the gone-way-too-soon Bravo drama series Imposters.

Photo: Courtesy of IFC Films.

The Real Susan Atkins

Susan Atkins was one of the four followers Manson sent to the home of Roman Polanski and pregnant Sharon Tate in 1969 that resulted in the murder of Tate and four others. Atkins was found guilty and sentenced to death in 1971 for eight murders before the death penalty was banned in California. According to Rolling Stone, Atkins’ last hearing was in September 2009, almost a month before she died at 61 from brain cancer.

Photo: Ralph Crane/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images.

Suki Waterhouse Plays Mary Brunner

The model-turned-actress continues to dabble in the cinematic arena with a variety of parts that show off her acting skills. She will do just that as Mary Brunner in Charlie Says. So far this year, Waterhouse appeared in Pokémon Detective Pikachu. She has also had starring roles in Love, Rosie, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and Assassination Nation. Plus, she played Cecily of York in the TV mini-series The White Princess. She is definitely proving models can have equally successful careers in film.

Photo: Courtesy of IFC Films.

The Real Mary Brunner

According to Rolling Stone, Mary Brunner was Mason’s first follower and met the cult leader in 1967. She gave birth to Manson’s baby and was considered the mother figure of the “family” Manson created with multiple women. Brunner was not present during the Tate and LaBianca murders in 1969 because she was in jail for credit card fraud. She was later captured with a group of Manson followers when they planned to steal a plane to break Manson and other incarcerated members out of prison. Brunner served six years in a California facility and has since changed her name.

Photo: George Brich/AP/Shutterstock.

Matt Smith Plays Charles Manson

Matt Smith is almost unrecognizable with chill-inducing shaggy hair and a scruffy beard in the lead role as Charles Manson. He is also speaking in a menacing tone that will terrify you. Manson is certainly the polar opposite of Smith’s most recent talked about role which was playing Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in Netflix’s The Crown. Before playing the prince, he had a long stint as The Doctor on Doctor Who. Let’s see how he tackles depicting one of the scariest and disturbing men in history.

Photo: Courtesy of IFC Films.

The Real Charles Manson

Charles Manson was the leader and mastermind behind a series of murders. He wanted to start a race war, that he referred to as Helter Skelter and intended to blame his killings on members of the African-American community. While Manson wasn't present at the murders, he did suffer the consequences. Manson was denied parole 12 times, according to the Los Angeles Times, and had been imprisoned since 1971. He died on November 19, 2017 at age 83 after being taken from prison to a hospital for a medical issue.

Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images.

Chace Crawford Plays Tex Watson

While he’s usually shown on screen making people swoon, Chace Crawford will now have to make people fear him as one of Charles Manson’s followers named Tex Watson. Obviously Crawford is most known for playing Nate Archibald on The CW’s Gossip Girl. Since the series ended in 2012, he starred in another show called Blood & Oil and has also had a role in Golden Globe-nominated film called Rules Don’t Apply. He will next appear in a series called The Boys, set to be released sometime this year.

Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images.

The Real Tex Watson

Tex Watson was an important member of the Manson Family as he and other Manson followers were responsible for murdering Sharon Tate and four other people at her home and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca the following evening. He was convicted of seven murders and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. According to Texas Monthly, Watson was sentenced to death in 1971 but California got rid of the death penalty the following year. CBS News reports Watson was most recently denied parole in October 2016.

Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images.

Merritt Wever Plays Karlene Faith

Wever has been a pro in the acting industry for a while now. She won two Primetime Emmys, one in 2013 and another in 2018, for her work on Nurse Jackie and Godless respectively. On the film side, just last year she starred in Welcome to Marwen alongside Steve Carell and she was also in Irreplaceable You with with Christopher Walken.

The Real Karlene Faith

Karlene Faith wrote a book titled The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Van Houten: Life Beyond the Cult. Faith was a college professor who educated the Manson women while they were imprisoned and spent time with Van Houten until Faith died in 2017. Guinevere Turner, who wrote the screenplay for Charlie Says, told Rolling Stone that Faith wanted to ensure that the film did not negatively impact the women of the Manson Family’s chances of parole.

Photo: Courtesy of IFC Films.

Annabeth Gish Plays Warden Virginia Carlson

The actress was seen last year in the hit series The Haunting of Hill House and reprised her role as Monica Reyes in new episodes of The X-Files. She has had multiple guest spots in popular shows throughout her career such as Pretty Little Liars, Sons of Anarchy, and The West Wing. She is probably most recognized for a role early on in her career, playing Kat in the severely underrated film Mystic Pizza with Julia Roberts and Lili Taylor.

The Real Virginia Carlson

Virginia Carlson, the warden of the California Institution for Women where Van Houten, Atkins, and Krenwinkel were imprisoned, invited a group of feminists connected to the Santa Cruz Prison Project to help rehabilitate the women of the Manson Family, according to The New Yorker. The publication quotes Faith as saying Carlson intended to “raise the women’s consciousness to a point where they would be able to think clearly for themselves, and recognize how deeply their subordination and rote obedience to Manson had degraded their humanity.”

Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images.

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