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Sharon Tate’s sister has spoken out against Hilary Duff’s “exploitative” new movie

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Kayleigh Dray
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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 06: Hilary Duff attends the InStyle And Warner Bros. Golden Globes After Party 2019 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Many were excited by the footage, but Debra Tate has hit back at those profiting off her sister’s murder.

Sharon Tate was a critically-acclaimed actress, earning a Golden Globe nomination for her role as Jennifer North in the 1967 cult classic, Valley of the Dolls.

She was also a model, a sister, a daughter, a wife and a human being – although you probably wouldn’t realise that, considering how many films are being made about her horrific death.

Tate was murdered by members of Charles Manson’s “family” on 9 August 1969, when she was eight-and-a-half months pregnant with her first child. Which means that, yes, the 50th anniversary of her death falls next year (2019) – and, as a result, there are a whopping three films about Tate and the Manson Family murders in production.

This includes Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which has cast Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as Tate’s next-door neighbours (yes, really), and Margot Robbie as Tate. Elsewhere, The Crown’s Matt Smith will play Charles Manson in independent movie Charlie Says, which will follow the lives of the three young women who were sentenced to death following the 1969 murders.

And then there is Hilary Duff’s portrayal of Tate in psychological horror film The Haunting of Sharon Tate, which vows to focus on her “dreams about ghosts haunting her house and foreseeing her own death at the hands of a satanic cult.”

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Now, the first trailer for The Haunting of Sharon Tate has landed. And it has already gotten armchair detectives pumped and ready to delve into “one of the most horrific murders in history.”

Check it out:

Also starring in the film (which will be out in cinemas and available on demand on 5 April) are Mean Girls star Jonathan Bennett, who plays Tate’s friend Jay Sebring, and Lydia Hearst, who plays coffee heiress Abigail Folger. 

Both Sebring and Folger were also murdered.

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However, while the trailer has left plenty of people excited on Twitter (“can’t WAIT for this!” tweeted one), it has also been criticised by many social media users for being “exploitative”.

“First trailer for The Haunting of Sharon Tate starring Hilary Duff is deeply, profoundly tasteless,” wrote one.

Another added: “It’s 2019 and exploiting the deaths of innocent people will never be okay.”

It is a sentiment which is, understandably, shared by Debra Tate, who famously attended almost every parole hearing related to the death of her sister.

“These people are taking horrific situations and making them even more graphic than they were without any concern for the living victims of these crimes and I think that’s horrible and crass,” she previously told People.

Debra Tate and Mia Farrow leaving London’s High Court in July 2005

So, in a bid to ensure her sister’s story isn’t lost among all the gratuitous gore and Manson-lore, Debra is now producing her own movie, Tate, which stars Kate Bosworth.

“It has nothing to do with Sharon’s death,” explained Debra.

“They’re telling her story as a woman aside from the murders. Kate is going to capture Sharon’s heart, feeling and attitude.”

Hammering home this vital point, Bosworth has spoken to Deadline about making sure the movie honours Tate’s life. “From the very beginning, it has always been our intention to honor Sharon’s life,” said Bosworth. “She was a beautiful and complex woman [and] 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.

“It’s her time.”

Bosworth also confirmed that her husband, Michael Polish, will be directing the film.

Praising his desire to do right by Tate, she said: “Thank you […] to my husband, who stands with me, everyday, striving to bring female forward stories to the screen. 

“I love you. Simply, you are the greatest.”

Images: Getty/Rex Features

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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