The toughest part of making the docudrama Manson wasn’t the recreating of the brutal Tate/LaBianca murders. It was locating the focus of the film —Manson family member Linda Kasabian.
Kasabian — the so-called “lookout” for the murders — had been in hiding for decades. So it took some professional detective work by the Toronto-based Cineflix to locate her. Convincing her to do the interview was another matter.
“It took months and months to track her down,” says executive producer Nick Godwin. “She had vowed never to talk about it again, so we weren’t sure she’d be willing to do the interview ’til days before (filming).”
But Kasabian did finally agree, traveling to Toronto for the interview.
“She was very apprehensive and nervous. In the first day, it took literally three, four hours to get her on camera,” says Godwin. “As time went on, she opened up and began to trust us.”
Combining interviews with Kasabian, chief prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, former family member Catharine Share and effective dramatic re-creations, Manson tells the harrowing tale of how young, single mother Kasabian came under the influence of Charles Manson (played by Adam Wilson). What started off as a refuge for the desperate Kasabian, quickly turned nightmarish.
Still, though the docudrama’s sympathies are squarely with Kasabian — who never personally committed any of the murders — she’s isn’t let off the hook either.
“It’s a difficult line to tread,” says Manson director Neil Rawles. “You can’t forget the real victims — those who died and their families.”
– Manson premieres on The History Channel on Sunday night