EXCLUSIVE: In death, a murder victim has no rights, but the victim’s family often fights behind the scenes — and sometimes loudly out front — to make sure that their murdered family member is properly portrayed. That has been the case with Debra Tate, sister of actress Sharon Tate whose brutal torture and murder at the hands of the Manson Family is one of the most heinous crimes of the last century.
Debra Tate has spoken out against Quentin Tartantino’s Manson project and against actors Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio for not addressing the victim’s family’s wishes and for exploiting the crime. Another competing project in the mix is the Hillary Duff starring The Haunting of Sharon Tate, which Debra Tate also called “tasteless” as Hollywood looks to exploit the 50th year mark of the crime.
Tate has now thrown her support behind the competing Sharon Tate project Tate. Kate Bosworth is starring and her husband/filmmaker Michael Polish is directing the story about the last day of her life. Nick Phillips is producing. And now so is Tate who is not only supporting the project but is on as a co-producer in what is seen as a true partnership. Bosworth and Polish are co-producing through their Make Pictures.
After the grisly crime, the Tate family tirelessly devoted themselves to helping other victims of crime. And it is because of their voice for Sharon, who was one of six silenced that night (we are including her unborn child, and more would follow), crime victims were given the opportunity to speak at the sentencing of perpetrators as well as at their parole hearings. Hollywood or filmmakers looking to make a name or career for themselves often look to high-profile murder cases to exploit into TV and film projects while families of the victims struggle against opportunists trying to make a buck at the expense of their suffering.
“It’s been exploitative since day one. It’s been the case since the media went crazy and has perpetuated mistruths making things even more salacious. It’s now morphed into something that is more fictionalized than truth at this point. To celebrate the killers and the darkest portion of society as being sexy or acceptable in any way, shape or form is just perpetuating the worst of our society. I am vehemently opposed to anything that does that. I’ve been dealing with this for 50 years now. We need to stop this, and I intend to help the family behind the NoNotoriety anyway I can to help make this a national movement.”
Debra Tate is not the only one who has objected to Tarantino’s take on the murders as I personally have spoken to another. Over the past year and a half, Bosworth, Polish and Phillips have been carefully crafting a film intending to honor Sharon’s life: to give personal and poetic insight into her and her life.
“At long last I have found filmmakers who are interested in the life story of my sister Sharon. Other projects have been a real source of pain in their insensitivity and gross exploitation of my sister. I am proud to join this very accomplished team to bring the story of the profoundly unique woman known as Sharon Tate,” she said.
Tate was the beautiful model-actress who was married to filmmaker Roman Polanski. She was pregnant with his child when members of the Manson family broke into her home and stabbed her 16 times, slaughtering her and four houseguests on August 9, 1969. Tate, a petite blonde, was only 26 and two weeks away from giving birth to her first baby (a boy).
“From the very beginning, it has always been our intention to honor Sharon’s life,” said Bosworth. “She was a beautiful and complex woman: A sister, a daughter, a wife, a lover. Human. Her life has for too long been overshadowed by the tragedy orchestrated by a raging psychopath. Now, more than ever, we feel it is important to focus on the woman – to reaffirm the voice of Sharon Tate – and to take away the megaphone from the maniac.”
“As a father and a filmmaker, I am not interested in portraying violence on screen with this particular project. It has no place in the Tate’s life any longer,” said Polish. “I’m honored that Debra has been generous with her life in sharing details that will make this movie one-of-a-kind … just like Sharon.”
Make Pictures’ upcoming feature film Nona is about a young girl from Central America who is sold into the sex trafficking industry. Polish wrote, directed and photographed that feature film, while Bosworth produced.
Bosworth is repped by CAA & Management 360. Polish by ICM Partners.