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Making ‘Manson Family Vacation’ Into a Comedy Was “a Little Bit Dangerous”

J. Davis’ dark comedy Manson Family Vacation tells the story of a pair of estranged brothers who decide to make a pilgrimage to the site of the Manson murders. The film, which premiered at SXSW and found distribution through Netflix, was produced by indie filmmaking darlings Jay and Mark Duplass (Jay stars in it as well).

“It did feel a little bit dangerous and a little bit tricky,” Jay Duplass tells Indiewire about making a comedic movie tied to the Charles Manson name. “This is a relationship movie, comedy/drama, road trip, mystery, thriller. And Mark and I have always loved to explore complex tones and just tackling the tone alone in this movie was going to be the challenge. But the fact that we have a Manson enthusiast at the center of the story, that’s definitely tricky stuff. But I think that’s what was really exciting about it. The fact that it’s a humanitarian story at first and it’s ultimately about the relationship between estranged brothers. We just had to trust our instinct at every turn and continue to mine the depths of where we wanted to go.”