"I was asked to burn down a house and 'kill' a bunch of people, so the answer was 'yes' obviously," Manson says of crime film 'Let Me Make You a Martyr'
By Kory Grow
"Within the first day, I was asked if I wanted to skin a coyote," the singer says excitedly. "It was already dead. And I was asked to burn down a house and 'kill' a bunch of people, so the answer was 'yes' obviously."
Beyond the shocking hijinks, Manson says he was able to fall into character easily upon arriving in Tulsa for the shoot. "I just had to observe the level of poverty and, I guess, white trash element to the story," he says. "The house where my character lives, sort of on a swamp on a reservation, looked like a combination between Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Apocalypse Now. It was pretty epic. Just seeing that, I knew where to go."
Aside from taking delight in horrific surroundings, Manson also identified with another trait of his character: "I am part Indian," he says. The singer adds that he did not know Pope was Native American when he took the role because the script didn't specify it.
"I really didn't have to change too much about myself physically," he says. "I already had just shaved my hair to a Mohawk and it's black already, so without being stereotypical, that seems like the character would have that if he was part Indian. I think originally they had envisioned someone with long black hair."
Manson's heritage is Sioux on his mother's side–"her family was from the Appalachian Mountains, West Virginia"–but other than taking part in a Native American–run program akin to Boy Scouts, that side of his family was not heavy on his upbringing. "They gave me one of those wooden, carved tom-tom drums and it was bound with animal hide and it was painted," he says of his sole memory of the experience. "I just remember I ended up stealing the drum and never going back." He laughs.
By Drew Mackie
There were more tweets along the "Let Natives Play Natives" line. But a few days later we got an update. Turns out it was all a misunderstanding.
'Martyr' Filmmakers: Marilyn Manson Is 'Not Playing a Native' Hitman in Movie
By Wilhelm Murg
On social media Native Americans have been skeptical, as Manson did not cite a tribe, but simply used the general term “Sioux,” a word not usually used by Natives on its own. (Most Natives of that heritage prefer to use the Native identity, such as Lakota or Dakota, or a specific reservation name, such as Standing Rock Sioux or Rosebud Sioux.) That was even more puzzling in regard to the reference to West Virginia, which is over a thousand miles east of Lakota territory. Unfortunately, many have been attacked not only by people bemoaning political correctness, but also by Manson fans on Manson’s Facebook page, who insists that Manson is doing this specifically to offend Native Americans for the sake of offending people. One fan’s post, which reads “Marilyn Manson doesn't give 2 fucks if you're offended, and neither do I,” has received over 500 “likes.”
John Swab, co-director and co-writer of the film, said he couldn’t speak to Manson having Native American heritage, as he was not involved with the Rolling Stone interview. “I was actually surprised to see the headline that said ‘Marilyn Manson to Play Native American Hit Man,’ because I didn’t relay any information to Rolling Stone, and Manson and I had never had any conversation regarding him or his character being a Native, so I don’t know who got that wrong.
“Originally when we wrote the screenplay the character was supposed to be Native. I’m from Tulsa, I have a Native background, not much, but enough to be familiar with it, so I wrote a Native character.” Swab says he is not a tribal member, but he has “some Creek heritage.”
Swab’s partner in directing and writing, Corey Asraf, said Manson is referring to early drafts of the script. “We had talked to a few different Native actors, and we had people booked in advance, and they had pulled out on us, they were unavailable, so we actually changed the story and didn’t shoot it. So when Manson played that role, that’s the script that he read, but that’s not the movie we shot. There’s nothing referencing (his character) being Native in the film.”
Wes Studi and Gary Farmer were considered for the character originally, but according to Swab, when neither of them could be in the film, he and Asraf decided to change the character. “It doesn’t have to be a Native; it can just be someone who lives in the woods. The controversy is totally uncalled for because he’s not actually playing a Native, he’s not playing an Indian.” There are no Native roles in the film.