David Burkhart Cast As Charles Manson: The Dark Obsession That Spans Nearly 50 Years

Charles Manson, one of the most notorious serial killers of all time, is still at the forefront of pop culture nearly 50 years after the Tate-LaBianca murders. Books have been published, and movies made — even this year — chronicling this bizarre and somehow nostalgic case. Why is there still such a strong and twisted fascination with Charlie? Perhaps it was the time period, but more likely is was Charlie Manson’s bizarre gift of charisma and almost supernatural persuasiveness that he misused so viciously for the purpose of murder.

David Burkhart will play Manson in yet another film series about murders. Burkhart plays the notoriously charismatic role in the second season of Murder Made Me Famous, a documentary series on the Reelz Channel. Burkhart confided to People that the roll was not only dark, but very difficult for him.

“Before I started filming, I watched videos of Charles Manson over and over and over. I really needed to get inside his head, and it is a very dark place to be.”

Manson’s thoughts are no doubt scary and new information has been brought forward since the seventies. Charles’s sister and cousin conferred with Biography‘s Jeff Guinn back in 2014. People who knew little Charlie say he was always frightening, even as a child.

Charles Manson’s biography reveals he had a strange ability to control other children, even at the tender age of six. Young Charles found he was able to convince his circle of friends, even then it was mostly girls, to attack other students. Everything escalated from there, and by the time Charles was 32, he had spent virtually half of his life incarcerated.

Charles Manson [Image by AP Photo/File]
David Burkhart found getting inside the character of Charlie Manson, a challenging task and a disturbing aspect of his occupation he had never experienced before. Mr. Burkhart had previous experience in romantic comedy and ironically has played Jesus Christ on several occasions.

Burkhart’s work includes roles in Broken Chord, Waiting for Player, and Repercussion. Needless to say, this role was very diverse from his previous experience, but David was able to dig deep and find his inner Manson, a task he did not really enjoy, according to People.

“On the set, between takes, I didn’t break character. I worked very hard at trying to get the nuances of his voice and his mannerisms.”

Charles Manson spent a lot of time practicing his ability to control others. Born November 12, 1934, Charles was 32-years-old when he established his cult, according to Biography. His age is not likely coincidental, since that is the traditional age of Jesus Christ during his ministry. Charlie saw himself as a sort of messianic figure and from his point of view, his ministry was starting.

David Burkhart, no doubt chosen for his striking resemblance to Charlie, was a bit out of his element, playing the mysterious false messiah-turned-serial killer. Charles himself, however, would not think there was a contrast at all between himself and Burkhart’s previous portrayals of Jesus. In fact, Charlie did claim to be none other than Jesus Christ himself.

In 1967, Charles Manson started his cult, which he called “The Family,” at a deserted ranch in the San Fernando valley desert. The group of about 100 people had no doubt that he was, indeed, Jesus Christ. Charlie actually told his devotees he was Jesus, and the group never doubted anything he said. The entire cult centered around the use of LSD and other hallucinogens, and it was probably easy for him to pull off alleged miracles with his suggestible and hallucinating audience. Then, in 1979, Charlie convinced his most avid followers to murder. Charles was not present for any of the murders.

Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten AP Photo George Brich c
David Burkhart confides without hesitation to People that he is very glad his work on the Manson project is finished.

“It took me a while to come down from it. When I was done filming Murder Made Me Famous, I didn’t want to ever think about Charles Manson again.”

Charles Manson once again portrayed for entertainment purposes, this time by David Burkhart, continues to find a strange dark appeal with audiences.

[Photo by AP Photo/File]