The first member of the murderous Manson Family has been cast in the new Quinton Tarantino film, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, currently in the first week of shooting and about life in Los Angeles in the late 1960s with the infamous Manson Family killings serving as the backdrop. Tarantino has tapped actress Dakota Fanning to play Lynette (Squeaky) Fromme, famous for her high-ranking status in the Manson Family hippie cult and for being convicted of trying to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford in 1975.

Demonic recently-deceased cult leader Charles Manson started his “Family” in 1967 in San Francisco and soon moved south to L.A., planting roots on the outskirts of town and attracting an impressionable brood of young men and women eager to experiment with free love, an assortment of mind-altering drugs and religious curiosity. Manson and his roughly 100 disciples set up shop in Death Valley at Barker Ranch and then at Spahn Ranch, an old cowboy-movie and television set in the Simi Valley Hills resting in the foothills above the town of Chatsworth.

In August 1969, Manson ordered several members of the cult to go on a two-night killing spree in which pregnant actress Sharon Tate and seven others were gruesomely slain in a series of slayings that captured the attention of the whole world and spelled the unofficial end of the Flower Power Era. Manson told his followers he was Jesus Christ and preached an end-of-the-world scenario he called “Helter Skelter” named in honor of a Beatles song and concluding in Manson becoming king of the entire world.

Fromme wasn’t involved in the so-called Tate-LaBianca murders. Tate was the wife of Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, The Piano). Today 69 years old, Fromme has been out of prison since 2009. She was an early Manson follower, having hooked up with the diminutive, musically-inclined hippie guru on Venice Beach in the spring of 1967, shortly after Manson had been let out of federal prison following a seven-year term for pimping and check fraud. An aspiring rock star, Manson made friends with big-name musicians, Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys and Neil Young. Manson and his family actually muscled their way into living in Wilson’s log-cabin mansion. The Beach Boys recorded one of Manson’s songs (Cease To Exist/Never Learn Not To Love)

Fanning is best known for her childhood roles I Am Sam, Uptown Girls, The Cat in The Hat, Man On Fire, War of the Worlds in the 2000s. Later roles have included playing a central character in the Twilight films and appearing in this summer’s Ocean 8.

Dakota Fanning

Manson died behind bars of cancer in the fall of 2017 at age 83. It hasn’t been announced who Tarantino has selected to play Manson, a genuine American icon of evil in his movie. The 100-million dollar budgeted Sony Pictures project will be released on August 9, 2019, the 50-year anniversary of the first night of the Manson murders.

Tarantino is one of America’s most creative and critically-acclaimed filmmakers of the last quarter century. Once Upon A Time in Hollywood will be his tenth feature and the only time so far in his career that he’s tackled historical subject matter. High-powered actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, both previous collaborators with Tarantino, will co-star in the film, portraying fictional actor and stuntman characters respectively in close proximity to the stunningly-beautiful Tate, played by Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street Suicide Squad, I, Tonya). Al Pacino is playing DiCaprio’s character’s movie agent.

When Manson moved The Family to Spahn Ranch in 1968, he assigned Fromme to maintenance the ranch’s elderly owner George Spahn, who allowed the group to stay on his property rent free in exchange for manual labor. He nicknamed Fromme, soon to become his lover, “Squeaky,” for her high-pitched voice. Burt Reynolds is playing Spahn.

After Manson was locked up for the 1969 killings, Fromme acted as his main mouthpiece to the press. Fromme pointed a pistol at President Ford on the grounds of the California State Capitol in Sacramento on September 5, 1975, but never got the chance to pull the trigger. According to Fromme, the assassination attempt was her way of protesting environmental neglect.

Squeaky Fromme in the minutes after trying to kill President Ford

 

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