Ryan Kwanten Will Tap Into His 'Dark Sides' To Play Charles Manson

'True Blood' actor will star in 'The Family' movie.

A charismatic cold-blooded killer is a far cry from the dim-witted yet endearing country bumpkin Ryan Kwanten portrays on the sexy HBO series "True Blood" — but the Australian actor is taking on the challenge.

Kwanten has signed on to play Charles Manson, one of America's most notorious criminals, in the movie "The Family." Kwanten announced the news during a press conference for his Western, "Red Hill,"

target="_blank">TheWrap.com first reported.

Written and directed by "The Machinist" scribe Scott Kosar, "The Family" follows Manson during the late 1960s, when he instructed his acolytes to commit several murders, including, most famously, the slaying of actress Sharon Tate in 1969. Manson has spent nearly four decades in prison.

When MTV News spoke with Kwanten this week, he admitted the role will be a massive undertaking. "It's going to be quite a challenge," he said. "[Manson] is undoubtedly a huge iconic figure and not necessarily for the best of deeds."

Though Kwanten is no stranger to bloodstained killing sprees — he is on "True Blood," after all — the actor said this latest role will require a bit of soul searching.

"It's going to be tapping into sort of dark sides of myself and obviously trying to find out as much as you can and then using what's going to be beneficial in making the film," he explained.

The movie will begin production in 2011 during Kwanten's next "True Blood" hiatus.

"The Family" won't be the first movie to immortalize — or demonize — Manson and his followers. In 1976, CBS aired a two-part television movie called "Helter Skelter," based on a book of the same name by prosecuting attorney Vincent Buliosi and Curt Gentry.

A second TV movie based on the book was made in 2004, and the 2003 film "The Manson Family" also details the group's horrible misdeeds.

Can Ryan Kwanten pull off the role of Charles Manson? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

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