Hilary Duff took to Instagram to post a sneak peek of her performance as Sharon Tate on Tuesday, but the late actress’s sister, Debra Tate, wasn’t pleased.
“Had the incredible opportunity of playing Sharon Tate the past two weeks in an independent movie. She was an amazing woman and it was a true honor,” Duff wrote on Instagram. The project, currently in post-production, is called The Haunting of Sharon Tate and written and directed by Daniel Farrands.
Debra Tate, who was 16 years old at the time of her older sister’s infamous murder, told PEOPLE that making a movie about Sharon’s death is “classless” and “exploitative.”
“It doesn’t matter who it is acting in it – it’s just tasteless,” she said. “It’s classless how everyone is rushing to release something for the 50th anniversary of this horrific event.”
Sharon Tate was murdered in 1969 by the cult followers of Charles Manson, who were looking to incite a race war in the United States. Tate was married to embattled director Roman Polanski, who would later be convicted of sexual assault against a 13-year-old girl. Tate was 8 months pregnant when she died.
On Wednesday, Debra Tate also commented on the movie’s plot, outlined on IMDb as a feature highlighting “the last days of 26-year-old Hollywood actress Sharon Tate as she dreams about ghosts haunting her house and foresees her own death at the hands of a satanic cult.”
Tate says this plot thread about dreams is totally fabricated.
“I know for a fact she did not have a premonition — awake or in a dream — that she and Jay would have their throats cut,” she said. “I checked with all of her living friends. None of her friends had any knowledge of this. Tacky, tacky, tacky. It’s a total fabrication.”
Tate also noted that she retains the rights to her sister’s likeness, and the filmmaker didn’t ask her permission before pursuing this project, adding, “It would have been nice if someone had contacted me.”
Not only is the 50th anniversary of Sharon Tate’s tragic death approaching, but the infamous cult leader and cultural touchstone Charles Manson passed away in November of 2017.
Debra Tate said that prison officials called her to inform her of Manson’s death. “I said a prayer for his soul,” she said simply.