Interview with MacKenzie Mauzy, Eden Brolin and Christian Madsen from "Manson's Lost Girls" on Lifetime - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Eden Brolin (Susan), Christian Madsen (Tex) and MacKenzie Mauzy (Linda)

Interview with actors MacKenzie Mauzy (Linda Kasabian), Christian Madsen (Tex Watson), & Eden Brolin (Susan Atkins) of  "Manson's Lost Girls" on Lifetime 1/28/16

Here is most of the audio of our interview. If the audio is not streaming well, please right-click on this link and save it to your computer. It should work better that way!  I hope you enjoy it! This was a fun interview, although it was a bit un-organized.  The movie is very good, and the actors were so nice in the interview.

Transcribed by Gisele. These are just the basic questions and answers, so if you want to hear the joking around, laughing etc. listen to the audio.

Jamie Steinberg of Starry Constellation Magazine: Could each talk a little bit about the research you did in order to portray these particular characters?

MacKenzie Mauzy: Initially I did a lot of public forums online, looking for documentaries and things like that, and we also all shared all the things that we had found. There were a couple of key documentaries that I found on YouTube actually from Linda Kasabian's perspective and an interview with her that I used, and I read "Helter Skelter" -- I think a lot of people did.

Jamie Steinberg: What about you, Eden?

Eden Brolin: I think a lot of our answers are the same for this question where we were really lucky to be able to get on the set with as much research as all of us had done beforehand, and some people came on really last minute, so this helped, especially, but we really all passed around so much information, and every day everybody had something new to say, and we passed a certain documentary around of Charles Manson, Jeff Ward who played Charles Manson. So a lot of it just involved watching a lot of interviews and reading as much as I could on her [Susan Atkins]. There's not a whole lot that's known about her from before the trials.

Christian Madsen: For me, I think we were just fortunate to, in a weird way, be involved in a "popular" subject. There's so much online to gather. I think, same with MacKenzie, I started a lot with online stuff and just reading as much as I could, and there's endless, endless documentaries from each point-of-view of every person. My guy that I play, Tex Watson, he wrote a book, and he was pretty honest about a lot the stuff that happened, who did what and why they did it, and I went a lot with the book that he wrote. I think it's called "Will You Kill For Me?" or "Will You Die For Me?" It's something that Manson actually said to Tex Watson during a campfire hang-out.

MacKenzie Mauzy: Casually, over a campfire. [Laughs]

Christian Madsen: Yeah. Yeah.

MacKenzie Mauzy: Great dinner conversation.

Christian Madsen: [Chuckles] Yeah. So I had a lot to gather, which was nice. Sometimes when you do some project, you don't have a lot to sort of prepare with, but there was so much, and yeah, I was really fortunate.

Jamie Steinberg: Yeah. I'm just wondering, since most of you are part of social media, if any of you guys are looking forward to the instant fan feedback you're going to be receiving to the project?

MacKenzie Mauzy: Yeah, I mean, I'm excited for people to see it. I'm like so bad at social media, so I'm really trying to get better at it, but yeah, I mean, it's such a blessing to have the support of fans, and hopefully, everyone will really enjoy it. Yeah.

Tom Stacy of Soap Opera Digest: Hi, everybody. I saw your interview on KTLA a little while ago, and great job! What was it like for you guys to play such a horrible event in American history. You know, this isn't your typical Lifetime movie that you guys signed on for. What was it like to play out real events and real horror?

Eden Brolin: In the trailer and the clips that they show, a lot of it is focused on the murders and all the bad stuff that happened. I think something that's really -- you know, of course, shooting those really, truly dark events that happened was obviously very eerie and very, very tragic and sad. The really amazing thing about this story is that it's really focused on the family and these characters and these people really specifically, and it's about them and how they got to where they ended up, and how villainized they ended up all being. So, yeah, of course, it was really dark, but at the same time, it was really kind of beautiful and interesting, 'cause it was a beautiful time for them, an eerie time, I'm sure, for a lot of them, but it was also kind of beautiful.

Tom Stacy: Very cool. Christian & MacKenzie, what about you guys? What was it like to play such a horrible, real-life story?

MacKenzie Mauzy: I mean, it's vulnerable. I think we all very really lucky that we got along, and there was a high level of trust within the cast, which I think was very important as we got into these more intense scenes; but I do agree with Eden to a certain extent about the "beautiful" comment. What we filmed really was about what the family was like before they turned into violence, but I think that what was really important, especially with it being a true story, was to just make sure at every turn that it was grounded in truth and that we were telling a true story, and keeping to what the characters really felt as much as we know. So I think that, yeah, there's that responsibility for sure, because it's such an iconic true story just to give homage to that. But I do think we were really blessed and lucky to have the cast and director that we had and producers, 'cause everyone was really rallying around, telling this story truthfully and respectfully.

Christian Madsen: Yeah, I agree with both, I think. It's a weird balancing act when you do a movie that is a real event. It's kind of like how real are we gonna be? In a weird way, it's kind of, there -- we're gonna go there, you know. 'Cause I think it's not our job to agree with their choices. It's just our job to understand, to some degree, why they did them and explore that. I think if you watch the movie, in my opinion, MacKenzie does a great job at playing it sort of like a human way, where she's not just a murderer. You kind of are seeing a lot of different sides of Linda, or with Eden, there is a vulnerability there under seriousness. A lot of these people, like they're saying, started out with this hippie movement. A lot of it was just based on love and, you know, for Charlie and for themselves, whatever, the lack of family they had, but I think the movie depicts a lot of that stuff first, which is good, but again, we had to thank God that Lifetime was able to go there, because this is what happened. It is our job to just tell that story, I think. There's just so much not uncovered, and I guess we just wanted to explore that more.

MacKenzie Mauzy: Yeah, I think it was really important to explore how this kind of thing happened or how something like this could happen. A lot of the stuff that's in the media is the fallout obviously of the murders and the trial, but these were the next generation and, for all intents and purposes, you know, normal kids. I think that's what's really scary, so just to explore how this kind of thing happened was a big intention, I think, that we all shared.

Tracy Speed of Lifetime: Anything else, Tom?

Tom Stacy: Well, uh, MacKenzie knows I'm gonna ask her, which I have to. MacKenzie, do you ever talk to any of your old B&B pals and, even though Phoebe's dead, would you still be willing to come back? [Laughs]

MacKenzie Mauzy: You know, I feel as if that ship has kind of sailed. [Chuckles] I always think about, in "Soapdish," when they're trying to bring back a character, and they're like, okay, well, we come back in soaps all the time, and she was like, "I was decapitated!" I just think it's so funny, but I love that family. I talk to some of them every once in a while. I really grew up a lot on that show, and I'm still very thankful for all of those cast members and the fans. They've really just been so supportive of me all around, so I have nothing but love for them.

Tracy Speed: Okay, let's see if Suzanne from TV MegaSite has some questions for you guys.

Suzanne Lanoue: Hi, good morning. I watched the movie last night, and I really enjoyed it. I read "Helter Skelter" back in the 70s, and I was kind of young myself. It kind of gave me nightmares. [Chuckles] This is kind of a dark subject. Did any of you have nightmares or have trouble dealing with it?

Christian Madsen: Yeah, definitely.

MacKenzie Mauzy: Yeah. Some days were harder than others. We were just kind of inundated, like our schedule was pretty crazy for those months. We were basically always there all the time, and we had to --

Christian Madsen: We were stuck there.

MacKenzie Mauzy: Yeah, we had a day off. You know, certain nights, it was hard to sleep, but it was pretty much like -- it felt like we weren't home long enough to like -- It was just like, "Just go home and go to sleep and go back to set" kind of situation. But yeah, you know, I was kind of like staging my house a lot at night, 'cause I every once in a while, you know, I live alone and started to get kind of freaked out, but I think for the most part again what was grounding us all was just trying to just tell the truth and bring life to these characters. Yeah, it was kind of creepy, especially when we started to get into filming the night of the murders and things like that, but thankfully that was kind of toward the end of the shoot and at that point, like I said before, we all had established a strong sense of trust between us, and so that really helped us kind of carry through, because we all were really supportive of each other.

Eden Brolin: I was going to say that I found that, before all the filming started, I was getting far more nightmares and would just get like, in the middle of the day, just creeped out. Like I'd be reading "Helter Skelter" and I'd be doing these interviews and just like chills running over my body. What was interesting, though, is that, as creepy as some of the stuff we were filming was, the nice thing about filming was that, despite what MacKenzie said about how we were in a cycle of going home, going to sleep, and then going back to the set very quickly, you could kind of when you started filming, you kind of detach yourself from what was going on when you got to go home. Whereas, when you're just doing your research as yourself and who you are, I felt like it was a lot creepier, because I couldn't really detach myself from anything at the end of the day, you know.

MacKenzie Mauzy: Yeah, that's a good point.

Eden Brolin: But it definitely is such an eerie thing. Even if you're just reading about the good stuff, it is just a strange time.

Tom Stacy: For all three of you, have you actually watched the film and what are your thoughts about it?

MacKenzie Mauzy: I've seen it. I'm really proud of everyone. It's very hard for me to watch myself, so I'm excited to see it again. The first time it was sort of like my judgment of myself, but honestly, like I'm really proud of everyone and how it came together. I do think that, as scary as it is, it also is a very human look at what happened and in a way that doesn't at all glorify or support any of the violence but really is just exploring the truth of it all and how something like this could happen, so I'm proud of it. I'm proud of everyone -- a really cool group of people.

Eden Brolin: I haven't seen it yet, but I'm really, really looking forward to it the more I hear about it. I know that all of us had such an interesting and wonderful time on set with each other and were all just so lucky to have gotten such a smart group of people and a just completely dedicated group of people who are lovely, lovely to be around. So for that I think we're all really proud of what happened there and how it ended up, but I've yet to see the finished product, and I'm really looking forward to it, 'cause I'm really proud of the way the story was portrayed from all of us individually.

Christian Madsen: I did watch the movie and, yeah, I think I just hate seeing me. [Laughing] Yeah, I think I was just like, yeah, let me hate-watch this and just nitpick at everything I did, but aside from those feelings, [Chuckles] I thought it was great. I mean, I think when you shoot something, and you have so much passion and you shoot with so many great people, and Antonio Calvache, the cinematographer, and Leslie [Libman, the director], and you're surrounded by a lot of talented people, you envision it how it was going, which is it was going to be great and the music was really cool. I was surprised by how many great songs were in there. Yeah, I thought it was a nice, great movie. I really enjoyed it.

Suzanne Lanoue: Yeah, can we talk about the music, because I enjoyed it and Eden, you sang really well and MacKenzie, you have a background in singing. I used to watch you sing all the time on "Bold & Beautiful." Did you guys know that you --

MacKenzie Mauzy: Oh, really?

Suzanne Lanoue: Yeah. Did you guys know that you both had that musical background and what was it like doing the singing?

MacKenzie Mauzy: I think everyone was really musical. Eden is incredible, and it was so fun.

Eden Brolin: Oh, thank you.

MacKenzie Mauzy: You are. You are so talented. You really are, though. I think everyone had some sort of -- either played an instrument or sang or both, and we kind of discovered that along the way, and it was sort of fun, like we would, you know, kind of play around with guitars and things between shots or whatever, but I think everyone sort of had a musical background of some sort, which was kind of fun to discover throughout the shoot, and especially since the family, like the real family, sang together and made music together, so I think it was a really cool thing we discovered that I don't think was ultimately super intentional in the casting process, like to a certain capacity, but it was more there than I think any of us realized.

Eden Brolin: A little fun fact about what happened with that song is that I knew that that scene was going to happen, but I hadn't really heard anything from the composer. I hadn't heard anything from the director about it, so the day before we shot that scene, the director like frantically e-mails me, "Do you know how to sing and play guitar?" And I was like, "Yes, yes I do, but I don't know what I'm singing," so I had the lyrics kind of right below me when I shot that scene. I think you guys both remember that I was so awful with the lyrics that day. I was lucky that I had a little bit of skill on guitar and I sing a little, but it's funny the way that that worked out that nobody was like, "Eden, you know, in a few days, you're going to be singing this."

Suzanne Lanoue: I think that made it sound more natural, probably, that you weren't quite so practiced in it.

Eden Brolin: And the character was just still sort of practicing it, I guess, so that sort of made it work a little bit.

Suzanne Lanoue: Definitely.

Tom Stacy: Well, since we're on the subject of music, I have to ask you, MacKenzie, what was your experience on "Into the Woods" like?

MacKenzie Mauzy: Oh, awful. Like the worst experience I've ever had. [Laughing] It was amazing! It was like a bubble, and we were all living in London for a few months, and to meet and work with those people was incredible, so I just felt really, really fortunate to be a part of it, and it was kind of a cool product of my experience in New York, so it was unbelievable.

Tom Stacy: Was it fun to have Billy [Magnussen] around, as well?

MacKenzie Mauzy: Yeah, it was really fun. We're good friends, so yeah, he's a lot of fun.

Jackie Bojarski of Talk Nerdy With Us: MacKenzie, I noticed the movie really fixates a lot on Linda and her experiences, and I wonder if you think it was because Linda was a character that the audience could empathize with the most?

MacKenzie Mauzy: Well, I don't know if the whole intention was empathy as much as -- First of all, it's a story that not many people know. Not many people who know the story have heard of Linda Kasabian, so you have to explain it. I do think there's more of a high level of humanity in her, in the sense that she couldn't go through with taking a life, which is an obvious point. I don't think the intention is really to like get sympathy as much as it's just like to show the story from a different perspective, and to tell her story and try to get into the family from the perspective of what it was like before, how everyone got kind of attracted to Charles Manson and to the idea that the ranch originally represented and then kind of the fall-out from there.

Jackie Bojarski: This is kind of a more fun question for you. What show or movie brings out the nerd in each of you?

MacKenzie Mauzy: Oh, my gosh. I'm such a nerd. My nerd doesn't really go away.

Christian Madsen: What was the show that you were on, MacKenzie? I was going to say that I watch that [B&B], but I've never seen it. [Laughing] I don't know, "Nerd Out"? I don't know. I know that MacKenzie reads a lot. I read a lot. I watch TV shows, but I don't know about nerding out. Maybe when I was a kid, I had a lot of stuff that I enjoyed a lot.

Eden Brolin: I still enjoy "Star Wars."

MacKenzie Mauzy: That's a good one. I guess that kind of depends on how you define nerd, because we probably --

Christian Madsen: Right. Yeah.

MacKenzie Mauzy: ...all like things that are nerdy, but we don't -- you know, it's just like normal. [Laughs] You know, I always have a few books going at the same time, but I think you guys do too.

Christian Madsen: Sure.

MacKenzie Mauzy: Maybe that's the nerd quality. I'm reading a really awesome new poetry book right now. That's pretty nerdy. Richard Siken. He's amazing. I can't get enough of that right now. I'm a huge fan. So maybe there's that. There's another book called "The Alphabet and the Goddess," which is like super nerdy. So, I'll just close with that. [Laughing]

Suzanne Lanoue: I notice that a lot of you come from families where there's a lot of acting -- a lot of famous parents, shall we say. Did you guys bond over that?

MacKenzie Mauzy: That is not a question for me.

Christian Madsen: Did we bond is the question? Did we bond over it?

Suzanne Lanoue: Well, did you have any discussion about how you guys all have parents in the business, that kind of thing? Grandparents, in some cases.

Christian Madsen: Mm. I'm gonna go with I don't think so. No, did we ever talk about that? No.

Eden Brolin: I think, any conversation we had about it was very, very brief and in sort of passing, but it was never -- Really, it was just a couple of us, too. So, it was never even a prominent part of the shooting process at all, which was fine and that was that. You know, that's not what it was about, let's just say. Unfortunately, it's about that for some of the publicity stuff, which is great for the movie if it gets more people to watch it; but at the same time, it was really sort of an irrelevant thing, and we all connected very quickly on a really personal level.

Christian Madsen: Very true, yeah. I don't think we had a lot of time to -- I think there was so much going on during the shooting and so much that we wanted to gather and other stuff --

Eden Brolin: There's really not a whole lot to talk about, really. There's not a whole lot.

Christian Madsen: [Laughs] Yeah, I think we were just thrown into the Manson world like so quick. A lot of us would drive out of town into where we shot the movie, and it was like right in the morning, and we'd leave at 9 and come back at -- We didn't have a lot of time to do a lot of other talk, other than just being in the Manson world, so I think maybe it was a blessing.

Tom Stacy: Actually, MacKenzie, I have another question for you. Are you back in LA now on a full-time basis, because I know for a while you were in New York, and you were kind of going back and forth. Where are you these days?

MacKenzie Mauzy: Right now, I'm in LA. I never really claim that I'm here on a full-time basis. However, I do have an apartment here now. My main apartment was in New York, but I'm always looking for an excuse to go back to New York, and I go frequently, because I have a lot of close friends there, so, but yeah, right now I'm in Los Angeles.

Jackie Bojarski: In researching this movie, did any of you listen to any of Manson's music that he produced?

MacKenzie Mauzy: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Christian Madsen: Definitely.

MacKenzie Mauzy: I did that a lot, like his music and then the family album. I think music was a huge part of their lives obviously, from the music that they were making to the music that he would let them listen to, you know, which is very interesting.

Christian Madsen: It was also part of his whole psyche and brainwashing was to bring in music, especially his voice being very prominent throughout whatever they were doing. It was sort of a Jim Jones thing. It was kind of blasted throughout the ranch and have everyone absorbed in his world, I guess.

MacKenzie Mauzy: Yeah. Yeah, you're right. It was really important.

Christian Madsen: Did he somehow record an album? I don't know if it was in prison or what, but there's a CD on iTunes. I listened to that pretty much every drive up to set, just to kind of get into that world, but the music was pretty good.

MacKenzie Mauzy: Yeah, I mean, it put me in the head space of it all, 'cause you hear the way he kind of manipulates and things like that. But kind of our job as actors was -- There's an interview with Linda in 1988, a "Current Affairs" interview where she seems very remorseful about her part in the murders and things like that, but when she talks about Charles Manson, she still smiles. At least for me, I thought it was my job to really understand the attraction to him and the love that they had for him, and part of that was associated to listening to his music, because as Christian already said, it was a part of his manipulation. Then, it was super creepy to listen to the family album for me, but I did that just because I wanted to. [Laughing]

Jackie Bojarski: Did any of you read the interview in "Rolling Stone" that was done a few years ago?

MacKenzie Mauzy: Yeah, wasn't that on set?

Christian Madsen: Yeah, I think we were passed that around.

MacKenzie Mauzy: Yeah, do you have a specific question about it?

Jackie Bojarski: What did you think of it? What did you garner from that interview if you read it?

MacKenzie Mauzy: Honestly, we read so many, I'm trying to differentiate exactly what was --

Christian Madsen: Yeah, there were so much, so many articles and videos we were all sort of showing each other and passing around.

MacKenzie Mauzy: It was like information sat. I don't know if there was like a specific point about it then maybe it would be easier to remember that specific interview, but I do feel it was one of the many we all were reading.

Jackie Bojarski: I think it was the one where they revealed that he had married that 21-year-old --

MacKenzie Mauzy: Oh!

Christian Madsen: Oh, the corpse, right!

MacKenzie Mauzy: Yeah, yeah, yeah! It wasn't surprising, considering everything else that we had learned about him. I think it's like -- he's a master manipulator. And also I think it came out that she was doing it just for money -- to have the right to his estate or something like that, so --

Christian Madsen: I think it was the right to his body, if I'm not mistaken.

MacKenzie Mauzy: Oh, yeah, so she could take --

Christian Madsen: She wanted to put his body on display and sort of sell it, and we were going to do a Lifetime interview with him in the box, no kidding! No. [Laughing] No, I think that's what it was, and I think he caught onto that, and I don't know if they're together anymore.

MacKenzie Mauzy: Yeah, yeah, but, I mean, there's not really an end to his -- you know. He studies women in jails. They said he pimps, that's what it was, and I think he just over --

Christian Madsen: Yeah.

MacKenzie Mauzy: Over the course of time, he really became good at what he does, you know, so that's just a sort of a product of that, I think. How does that sound?

Christian Madsen: Pretty good.

Read Our Review of Manson's Lost Girls" on Lifetime

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