For an actor, some roles are harder than others.
It’s one thing to be a leading man in a romantic comedy. It’s another thing entirely to play Charles Manson, one of the most notorious killers in American history.
Just one day after Manson family member Leslie van Houten was denied parole, the Reelz Channel is tackling the famous case on the second season of the docuseries Murder Made Me Famous.
Actor David Burkhart was cast as Manson – and tells PEOPLE that the role was both challenging and dark.
“Before I started filming, I watched videos of Charles Manson over and over and over,” Burkhart, 36, tells PEOPLE. “I really needed to get inside his head, and it is a very dark place to be.”
“I’m rather method in my approach,” he continues. “On the set, between takes, I didn’t break character. I worked very hard at trying to get he nuances of his voice and his mannerisms.”
Burkhart says that the role was more difficult because the iconic Manson story is a work of non-fiction.
“The director, Brad Osborne, reminded us that these were real people, and that we ended to have respect for the victims,” he says. “I kept remembering the real-life situation. Just thinking about what these people went through was awful, and we were actors portraying a role.”
Manson, 81, remains incarcerated. He is serving 9 concurrent life sentences at Corcoran State Prison in Corcoran, California.
Burkhart – who usually gets cast in Biblical roles like Jesus Christ – says he was happy when the “intense” shoot was over. “It took me a while to come down from it. When I was done filming Murder Made Me Famous, I didn’t want to ever think about Charles Manson again.”
Murder Made Me Famous combines reenactments, exclusive interviews and never-before-seen photos and video to tell the story of infamous murderers. The show is hosted by PEOPLE Senior Writer Steve Helling.
The show’s second season will begin with the Charles Manson episode Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET on the Reelz Channel.