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‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Star Damon Herriman on Portraying Charles Manson | In Studio


– Hi, I’m Damon Herriman, and I’m in studio with
The Hollywood Reporter. – I feel like you have the longest IMDB credits I’ve ever seen. You’re in so much. People probably recognize you from a ton of different film and TV projects. I think I personally know
you most from Justified. So can you tell me, and
I think a lot of people, it’s just such a good,
it was such a good show. Did you find that people
were also recognizing you a lot from Justified, or
do you still feel that Dewey Crowe love? – When people who saw
Justified recognize me, they definitely get
excited about that show because people who watch
Justified love Justified and definitely for me, playing Dewey was one of
the highlights of my career. It was also the first kind
of major job that I got in America when I first
started coming over here, and I think that show
opened a lot of other doors. So I’m forever grateful. – Yeah, he was such an
interesting character because we were talking about it
earlier and it’s like, he was technically a bad guy but you felt sorry for him though and everyone kinda treated him bad and you were just so, he
just had such an innocence. – Yeah, there was a childlike
quality to him that, it’s one of those things
when you’re doing a show over a period of years that, in the pilot, for example,
if you watched the pilot, which Dewey is in, he’s not quite the same Dewey that he became because no one really knew
who he was at that point. The writers didn’t know and I didn’t know. We started writing, they’re
writing a version of him and I’m playing a version of him. At some point, they and
I separately or together, I don’t know, tapped into
that kind of hapless, pathetic, kind of innocent thing that they then wrote brilliantly for, so whenever the new scripts came out, it would just be so fun
seeing what absurd situation he got himself into this time. – And I found out in some research, you’ve been acting a
really long time also, since you were a kid, yeah? – I have, yeah, yeah. I started when I was eight in Australia, and when I was 10, I
was on a TV series there called The Sullivans
which was kind of like our version of The Waltons. And I did a lot of
acting around 10, 11, 12, and then sort of lost
interest through high school, assumed that that was
a hobby I did as a kid and I would find a normal job now. And then, when I finished high school, I kinda didn’t really
know what I wanted to do, and I sorta fell back into acting again. – Wow, you pretty much had
the same job your entire life. – Pretty much. I’ve done some other fill-in jobs too. If you’re an actor,
especially if you’re an actor in a place like Australia
where there’s nowhere near as much work as here, you
kinda need another job. And I, throughout my 20s
actually, for nine years, I worked in an office
in an insurance company as well as being an actor. Yeah, so I would go to
auditions in my shirt and tie after selling insurance
or paying someone’s claim, or I’d go away for a
few months to do a play or to do a movie or something. But it wasn’t until, I kinda
left that job at 27 and went, you know what, I need to take
this a bit more seriously because if I keep doing this office job, I might never leave. It was still a bit of
a struggle financially until my 30s, I guess. And things sort of changed
when I came over here. Even that took a while, but
I did a film in Australia called House of Wax,
which was an American film that Paris Hilton was in. – [Natalie] I’ve seen it. (laughs) – You’ve seen it, you said. That kinda sorta changed things
for me in a big way really because I hadn’t, I’d
sorta dipped my toe in coming to America a few years earlier. I didn’t have any American credits, and it was almost
impossible getting agents or auditions, all that stuff. So I came over for the
premiere of House of Wax, and that sort of opened some doors. Only little kind of tiny opening, but having an American credit, playing an American character, not dissimilar from Dewey Crowe actually, that sort of started slowly
leading to more work over here. – So Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, how did the role come to you? Did you get a phone call, an email, and what’s your reaction
when you hear what this is? – Essentially it came about through, I knew a couple of actors on the set who were already cast in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
– It was almost a Justified reunion. – It was, and Timothy
Olyphant from Justified is one of the people I have to thank and another actor called Nicholas Hammond who lives in Australia
now, who people would know from The Sound of Music, he
played Friedrich, the oldest son and he played Spider-Man
interestingly in the 70s, the 70s versions which
are a little different from the current versions but. Anyway, Nicholas is a friend of mine, Timothy is a friend of
mine from Justified, and they sort of got
together and both ended up putting in a word to Quentin
about getting me to audition. And Quentin Tarantino is
actually a massive Justified fan. He has seen the whole thing,
loves the whole thing. He’s worked with Timothy,
Walton Goggins on Hateful Eight. So just that alone, I think,
helped get that audition, the fact that he loved Justified. They wouldn’t email the pages
because it was that secretive. They had to FedEx the pages. Because, was it Hateful
Eight that got released? One of them got released online when it wasn’t meant to.
– I think you’re right. – The script got released. And I think to be vigilant and really be ultra careful about that, they made sure there was no
digital copy of the script. I heard that I was being FedEx-ed these pages for an audition, and yeah, and then, I
open it up and it says, “A shaggy stranger appears.” I’m like, who might this be? Maybe two weeks later, I got
a call saying I got the role, and yeah, it’s a pretty great call to get as an actor, for sure. – So it didn’t actually say,
did it say like, Charlie? – It ended up saying Charlie
throughout the scene, yeah. – Okay, gotcha. And were you familiar with Manson at all? – I’d read Helter Skelter
a few years earlier, and I’d seen documentaries before. But certainly, when you’re
playing someone who’s real-life, you want to make sure that you
do all the research you can and watch everything you can, so I went pretty deep into watching every interview he’d done and
reading books and podcasts and all sorts of stuff. – His personality, I can’t imagine watching all the interviews,
doing all that research, and then having to portray this person. Did you find it hard to shake off? Was it difficult getting into character? – Definitely didn’t find it
hard to shake off, thankfully. I’m not one of those actors
who stays in character, not even, but after
Cut, I’m back to myself. So it’s, yeah, that’s not
a character you want to be spending a lot of time
with at the end of the day. But look, yeah, it’s a hard, he’s such a complex, he
was such a complex guy. There’s not, he wasn’t a
one-dimensional villain. The guy had so much going on, and he was almost certainly suffering from probably several mental disorders. And at times, he sounded
like a crazy person. At times, he actually spoke some sense. Obviously that was the rarer occasion. At times, he seemed terrifying. At times, he seemed completely sane. So it’s very confusing
for an actor trying to take all that stuff on. What was interesting actually
watching the interviews, he would kinda up the crazy elements if the interviewer was
treating him like he was crazy. There’s an interviewer he
does with Ron Reagan Junior, where Ron Reagan Junior talks to him like a completely normal person. And it’s probably the only
interview where you see him kind of close to, as close to normal as you’re likely to see him. He kind of can’t, he
doesn’t get an opportunity to kinda crazy it up because the interviewer is being,
is not kind of cajoling him and nudging him into that territory. But yeah, it’s one of the harder roles that I’ve had to play, for sure, and especially knowing
that people know who he is and know what he’s like. So there’s an added pressure
on getting that right. – And then, how did you and
Quentin work together on sort of honing that character? I think I’ve heard him say that he sort of also bounces off of the actor because some actors
like a lot of direction and some actors don’t. But how was it for you two in that dynamic when you’re on set and everything? Is he pretty hands-on with you or? – He’s kind of the perfect amount. He’s incredibly enthusiastic. He makes you feel really good. When he’s happy after a scene, he lets you know, know on certain terms. And that’s a really nice feeling. Yeah, he’s like a big enthusiastic kid who still loves making movies. He doesn’t give too many notes, he doesn’t do too many takes. He seems to know when
he’s got what we wants, and he moves on even though
he has the luxury of probably doing as many takes as he wants. He sorta doesn’t do that unnecessarily. Sometimes, his direction would be kinda acting out the scene in a way, but in a way that kinda, it’s sort of a, I don’t know, like a cartoony version of what the version is that he wants, but it’s really helpful because you know, you’re watching him do it and you’re like, I know exactly what he wants that to be, even though it’s not exactly that, it’s not literally that,
but he’s really great at getting that across. And of course, his dialogue
is just so amazing. As an actor, people talk
about the Tarantino dialogue and actors talk about,
there’s no question, it’s the best dialogue I ever got to say. I said to him while we were shooting, “You write good acting into your dialogue, “like I feel like anyone can say this “and it’ll make them seem
like they’re a good actor.” Because the dialogue is so well-written. It was one of the most fun
times I’ve had on any job. – And speaking of the dialogue, is it true that he is very
particular about saying every exact word the way, like you can’t really, I’ve
heard that he doesn’t like anyone to sort of improv
or go off, off-script? – I’ve heard that too. It never came up. I think I was probably so
determined to learn every word. And by the way, you
don’t want to change it because it’s so perfect. – Yeah, you shouldn’t really have to. And then, from the trailer it looks like Brad Pitt’s character is sorta like, being ushered onto Spahn Ranch. So what’s it like working with Brad Pitt? What’s your dynamic like? – Yeah, he’s an incredibly lovely guy. We don’t have a huge amount
to do in the film together, but he was just really sweet
and down to earth on set. All the actors actually
that I’ve got to work with or met in the process of making that film were really lovely and
really down to earth. I think there’s a thing that happens where the bigger and more
successful a production is or the actors are that are working on it, you tend to notice going into those jobs, not that I’ve done that many of them but they’re the most calm, the least diva-ish, the most down to earth. It’s a really nice
feeling being around that because you could easily
walk onto that set expecting to feel the opposite. – Again, I know I started with this, but you just have so many projects that you’re just taking over. The Nightingale looks pretty cool, and that’s the Jennifer Kent film. So I know The Babadook was,
has a big cult following. What can you say about
her as a writer, director? When you got that script,
what did you think, and what was that experience like? – It was an incredible experience. That film is quite
different from The Babadook in that it’s a drama. It’s not a horror film but
it’s horrific in its own way. It tells a story. It’s not a true story, but
it’s certainly based on events that, the type of
events that took place in the 1800s in Tasmania,
which is a state of Australia. And yeah look, getting to
work with Jen was incredible. She’s one of those directors
who is a true artist. She is so incredibly
passionate about what she does, and she wanted to tell this story which is basically about this convict girl who decides to take
revenge on these soldiers who have brutalized her and her family. And it was a hard job because
it was winter in Tasmania, which is pretty cold, and there’s some dark material in there. And I play one of the
soldiers who is in my list of unpleasant guys that I’ve played. He’s right up there. – Well, hopefully we’ll
get to see you maybe shift back towards the characters from the beginning of your career
maybe a little bit more. – Well, in Perpetual Grace, Limited, which is the show that I just, sort of the most recent
film I did over here, I feel like that pivot has begun. The character in that, he’s involved in some criminal activity but he’s actually a really sweet guy. And he’s kind of more of a Robin Hood. He’s stealing from his parents who were stealing from their church, and he wants to use the money for good. And he’s a really interesting character and has a kind of a similar
childlike quality to Dewey but he’s actually genuinely
smart whereas Dewey was not. – Thank you so much for stopping by. It was so great to talk to you. – My pleasure. – Anyone watching, if you
want to see Damon in anything, just basically turn your
TV or go to the theater, and you can catch him on something. Well, thank you again. So nice talking to you.
– Thanks, Natalie. – [Natalie] Thanks everybody for watching.

77 Comments

  1. Rob's Relics Author

    I just hate he only got to be in the film for a minute or so.  Can't wait for the DVD because I know it'll have many deleted scenes.

    Reply
  2. d jjdnyc Author

    Have only seen a couple episodes of Justified, but it was clear that the actor playing Dewey Crowe would be perfect for Manson- of course, the brilliant Tarantino saw it, and boom! Appreciated that he was in the movie in a limited fashion- it would have been disrespectful to the victims to accord this psychopath Tarantino-esque glamor, which kinda would've been inescapable if he had a larger role (given how good Tarantino's dialogue is).

    Reply
  3. Patrick O'Donnell Author

    Thanks for acting in the movie but I did not know who you were as an actor, nor did I know your character was Charles Manson.😅LOL!! Thought you were just some hippie guy next to an ice cream truck waving to Cliff. Guess I should have done some research to know the backdrop of the movie was the Manson family murders. Kind of a misstep of QT to assume his audience members will know this or make this connection without implying in a more clever way somehow that, "hey this is Charles Manson here guys." Kind of takes his audience for granted. And then I could have gone, oh okay, the obligatory death scene in every QT movie will be a retelling or revisionist history event of those murders at the end where QT can sort of go back in time and control that narrative. And then I would have gotten all the scenes and not been noted to years from them.

    Reply
  4. KENNETH Author

    Once upon a time in hollywood 2019 FullHD-1080p
    Played» 4k-123movies.blogspot.com/

    Сиз акыркы тасмаларды жана эски мектепке Интренет болотe

    Reply
  5. RebelFilmTalk Author

    This video got me upset. He’s an incredible actor was given such little screen time. He would have killed that role! 😡

    Reply
  6. ContactResearch Author

    I haven’t seen the movie yet ! I can’t wait to see how this guy portrays Manson…if he nails him in such a short scene that’s amazing! The interviewer really does her research…love her 💕

    Reply
  7. WarlordRising Author

    Quentin Tarantino is a huge fan of Justified for a variety of reasons. Elmore Leonard, amazing dialogue, great performances, unforgettable characters, and the list goes on. It's no wonder he keeps hiring actors from that show. It just had the unfortunate circumstance of being released next to Game of Thrones.

    Reply
  8. richfictionfighter Author

    The first time I took notice of this guy was in a little Australian film called "Down Under". Plus, if you saw the Heath Ledger movie "Candy", Damon is the guy whose wallet gets stolen by Heath's character

    Reply
  9. I ain't sweating over it Author

    Uuuuh, they might have well just interviewed him for his upcoming Manson performance in Mindhunter. It was a cameo, nothing more.

    Reply
  10. Daniel DeRey Author

    Maybe the short screentime of his part in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was the reason why Tarantino and Fincher were willing to share him.

    Reply
  11. Feline Fatale Author

    His scene as Charles Manson in this was one of the most chilling scenes. It was foretelling and not to ruin it, but you can see with Margot Robbie's Sharon Tate that his mere presence was haunting to her, too.

    Reply
  12. Jennifer Wise Author

    " The STAR" of the movie.. Damon Herriman.. LMAO.. this guy is in for about 5 seconds. do not blink or hold your breath… he is barely in it…

    Reply
  13. Taylor Hensel Author

    Everyone bitching about Damon’s screen time in “OUaTIH” when this interview is about the dude’s entire career. Plus most actors consider a part in a Tarantino movie an honor, no matter small. His bit part in the film was chilling and great foreshadowing, he did a great job with what he was given, stop being outraged for him.

    Reply
  14. Atomic West Author

    I only know him from the Australian show “Laid.” But he was a perfect creep in that. I hope he does more American work. Seems like a good actor.

    Reply
  15. Bluemgwes Author

    My personal viewpoint on why Damon Herriman's Charles Manson is only in "Once Upon a Time…", for as short of a time as he is, is because the film's emphasis is more on Sharon Tate and being respectful to HER life. If the scale tipped to giving Charles Manson more screen time, then it'd be disrespectful and unnecessary. Plus the way he is shown on screen makes his presence more cryptic and mysterious, which makes his character, like he was in real life, very creepy and also builds tension leading up to the climax of the film.

    Reply
  16. BRRR Author

    im pretty sure they made his scene way longer and possibly made a couple more scenes but he literally only came out for about 50 seconds from a distance and only when he waved bye is the closest he came out… they couldve made those long ass western show scenes way shorter and showed more of charlie and more brad even

    Reply
  17. Cate Nickson Author

    'The Sullivans' was a massive hit on Australian TV following the impact on an average family and their friends spanning the years of WW2 in Australia and overseas. https://youtu.be/16y5mvV4qj8

    Reply
  18. Jude Brewer Author

    For everyone commenting that he wasn't in Tarantino's film much, go watch Season 2 of Mindhunter where he also plays Charles Manson

    Reply
  19. tdottim Author

    I loved that Damon played this part. It required a great actor to make that small part (in the final cut) memorable and who could make a smirk look terrifying. Herriman played a serial killer in one of my top 2 short films of all time.

    Reply
  20. Brian D Author

    One of my favorite movies in a long time yet it's easy, interesting and perhaps fun to point out things that might not just be perfect.
    I love the scene going down the freeway with a Cadillac and the exit sign. I believe it was exit 34. The numbered exit signs did not come into being until the mid-1990s.

    Reply
  21. Pavel Simeonov Author

    So this video is 14 minutes and 16 seconds long which is 856 seconds ( according to my shitty calculations ). His screen time in the film was 20 seconds at most, so this video is at least 43 times longer than his screen time in the film 😀

    Reply
  22. PiercingPencils Art Author

    Was I the only one who had thought that Charles Manson was played by Val Kilmer??? I know he's been recently been battling throat cancer, but I had thought he had gotten better. I thought thos because I didnt go to google or IMDB

    Reply
  23. pulphope Author

    Judging from this interview, there will definitely be an extended TV version of Once Upon a Time… I mean, Manson dialogue and some exchanges between Manson and Cliff?

    Reply
  24. madd ace Author

    Honestly if he portrayed Manson in the movie as he did in Mindhunter he would have bagged an Oscar for best supporting actor easily. That scene he had in Mindhunter season 2 was phenomenal. I'm disappointed he wasn't able to flex his acting in the movie.

    Reply
  25. Wojtysław L Author

    I feel like there is something unnamable, that australian actors have and americans don't. Something in their thinking about character maybe.

    Reply
  26. fiumefenice Author

    Omfg he’s the motherfucker from the nightingale!!! his role in that movie was just sick omfg….. wow great actor. I fucking hated his ass Jesus Christ. ALSO OMG HE WAS IN HOUSE OF WAX HOLY SHIT THIS IS HILARIOUS!!!!!

    Reply

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