Damon Herriman had fans seeing double this summer.
The Australian actor, 49, played the role of infamous California cult leader Charles Manson in not one but two high-profile projects: director Quentin Tarantino’s big screen drama Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood and the second season of Netflix’s Mindhunter (both out now).
As it turns out, the stunt wasn’t planned — it was all just an accident.
“Bizarrely, it was a coincidence,” Herriman told Vulture. “Two productions happened to have a Charles Manson character in them, and I had an opportunity to audition for both. That’s pretty much it.”
“If you’re going for a character like Charles Manson, you can only cast people of a certain height, so that narrows the pool because the guy was incredibly short,” Herriman added. “A lot shorter than me, but I’m only 5’7″, so I scraped into the pool.”
Though Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood came out first, hitting theaters last month, Herriman was actually cast in Mindhunter first.
The role in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood came after fellow Australian actor Nicholas Hammond and Herriman’s former Justified costar Timothy Olyphant — both friends — suggested Tarantino consider Herriman.
“Together they brought up my name when they’d heard that Manson hadn’t been cast yet and suggested me to Quentin,” Herriman said to Vulture, noting that he didn’t tell Tarantino about his Mindhunter role.
“I didn’t think that would be a great idea because at that point I already had Mindhunter. I thought that even going for the same character again was a completely fruitless exercise, but I also didn’t want to not do an audition for Quentin Tarantino.”
“Luckily for me, it didn’t bother him,” Herriman added.
Both projects ended up shooting within two weeks of one another, Herriman revealed to Vulture.
Those two weeks were “as weird as it sounds,” Herriman said, “but also very cool.”
Playing Manson in both projects didn’t mark his first time playing a criminal: he previously played Lindbergh baby kidnapper Bruno Hauptmann in Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar back in 2011.