"When the very idea of writing and directing a film based on Charles Manson was brought up in discussion, it wasn't something I wanted to do. I had no interest. There had been plenty of previous tellings of his story, usually making him into some sort of ranting cartoon character, and I felt that everything had been covered. But I decided to humor the idea nonetheless and one of the first things I realized when I started doing research was how young people, to this very day, look up to him and deify him the way they did nearly fifty years ago.
That being said, I still wasn't completely sold...until I came across an interview with Charlie, during the Tate and LaBianca murders trial, where he was caught blindsided by an interviewer and came across meek, shy, and vulnerable. That was what I needed to see. Despite all the interviews available (typically post-incarceration), I felt that THIS was the real Charles Manson - it was who he was when cameras weren't in his face and when he wasn't surrounded by the "family".
It was then I knew the story I wanted to tell. If you present the villain as ONLY a villain, his actions are not frightening. You feel nothing. There is no story. To present him as I saw in this interview was a story. How did this person - 5'2" and having come from nothing - convince these young people during the time of "peace and love" to carry out these terrible actions?"