As the 50th anniversary of the horrendous Manson Family murders looms, it appears Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming project won’t be the only film to reference this era-defining event. Refinery29 reports that former Disney star Hilary Duff is set to appear in an upcoming film about the alleged haunting of the ill-fated actress Sharon Tate, who sadly became an icon in death rather than for her performances in Valley of the Dolls, The Fearless Vampire Killers, and Eye of the Devil (opposite Donald Pleasence).
Aptly titled The Haunting of Sharon Tate, the film is being helmed by Daniel Farrands (The Girl Next Door, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers), who previously produced The Haunting in Connecticut. Details are scant, but on-set photos indicate that filming is taking place at a Los Angeles residence that bears a striking resemblance to the now-demolished crime scene house on Cielo Drive where Tate lived with director Roman Polanski. On August 9, 1969, members of Charles Manson’s hippie cult family ambushed the property, igniting a wave of terror across the country with the murders of Tate and four others. This event (followed by the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca the following night) would result in a bizarre spectacle of a trial that covered no less than race wars, the division between hippie culture and the Hollywood elite, and the deluded ramblings of a madman and his followers — swastikas etched into their foreheads.
It’s currently unknown whether this Cielo Drive stand-in will serve as the main set piece or whether the film will focus on the Oman House, a residence some 150 feet away where Tate’s ghost allegedly haunts. In any case, Duff was photographed on set sporting a baby bump — a sad reminder that Tate was eight-and-a-half months pregnant at the time of her death.
Per Just Jared, Jonathan Bennett will also star in the film — a particular role wasn’t specified, but it appears Bennett will portray Jay Sebring, a celebrity hairstylist and Tate’s former boyfriend who was present at the crime scene and befell the same fate. Instagram photos showcase the actor sporting a similar speedo worn by Sebring just hours before the murders.
Consider me intrigued! Coincidentally, Bennett’s Mean Girls co-star (and former Duff rival) Lindsay Lohan was also set to appear as Tate in celebrity photographer Tyler Shields’ unrealized project Eyes of a Dreamer.
Personally, I was always rooting for Lohan… (the Disney Wars are NOT over!) — but nonetheless, I have fond memories of having grown up watching Duff — and I still rock out to “I Can’t Wait” every now and then. The actress hasn’t received many opportunities to showcase her chops outside of lighter fare; at one point, she was set to star in a Bonnie and Clyde remake that was ultimately canned. This particular film will mark Duff’s first foray into horror, so her turn as a ghostly Sharon Tate should make for an interesting watch and I do believe she has the ability to translate Tate’s dignified presence!