- "They're going to be screaming your name boy, mark my words!"
- — Starkweather, to Cash.
Lionel Starkweather, also known as the Director, is a major character and the main antagonist in Manhunt.
The twisted mastermind behind the whole scenario, the Director communicates to James Earl Cash through an earpiece until Cash kills the White Rabbit. He tells Cash where to go and sometimes gives instructions on performing certain special tasks.
Starkweather's personality is ultimately that of a perverted and immature psychopath who is utterly devoid of any sort of moral compass, empathy and conscience. He is very impatient and shows absolutely no regard towards anyone's death. He gets very excited when Cash kills a hunter and gets very annoyed to the point of throwing childish tantrums when Cash waits around too long. He is shown to be untrustworthy, as he told that he'd let Cash go if he participated in his snuff film. However, in reality, he is planning to have Cash murdered by the Smileys (As hinted by his dialogue during the scene Kill the Rabbit). Another example is that having Cash rescuing his family members, Starkweather tell the Wardogs to execute Cash's family members, recorded as a film and the film is shown to Cash.
Starkweather is solely motivated by not only his sadistic and hedonistic impulses, but also his own insanity; despite now filming snuff films, he believes himself to still be a great director and artist. Many of his quotes praising Cash's executions revolve around a delusional belief that he will make Cash "a star" and bragging that Cash will "turn the slash world on its head".
Despite all the countless murders he has ordered, Starkweather is a cowardly person, always relaying on Ramirez and the Cerberus to do the dirty work for him, while Starkweather himself was hiding from the action. When he is confronted by Cash at the end of the story, he attempts to kill Cash with a Revolver, but quickly resorts to running away and attempted to negotiate with Cash to spare his life when he runs out of ammo.
Starkweather is heavily implied to be a sexual sadist, as he takes great pleasure in both violence and death, with dialogue at certain points indicate that he is possibly masturbating to Cash's murder spree (thus adding a bit of comic relief to the otherwise serious game), though as the game progresses, stealthy executions begin to lose their effectiveness in as Starkweather never communicate with Cash after his betrayal, and that effectiveness is instead brought on by fire fights.
Despite being sadistic, he does seem to despise the Skinz over the rest of the gangs. Lines such as "Dumbass supremacist bastards", and he seems to dislike them for their white supremacist nature "always blaming each other for their inadequacies". Before directing Cash to kill them, he appears to want Cash to brutally kill them, "Butcher 'em Cash, beat 'em up, cut 'em up, and choke the fucking life outta them!", more than the other gangs.
Life until 2003Edit
Lionel Starkweather was once a successful Vinewood film director until his movies started to flop badly and his career was finished, before moving to Carcer City and going insane. He begun filming underground pornography and snuff films, which he sold to certain Japanese businessmen.
His new found success made him very rich, allowing him to open an illegal company named Valiant Video Enterprises. Eventually, Starkweather began working with various illegal businessmen, like Mr. Nasty, and hired psychopaths like Ramirez to work for him. Starkweather also soon hired a group of mercenaries known as the Cerberus to protect him. He even found those who were responsible for his previous failure and got his revenge by adding them into his movies where they were all killed, which hints that Starkweather is possibly a revengeful person.
Starkweather begun paying off the CCPD police chief Gary Schaffer, allowing him to control the city and all the gangs participating in his snuff films. At some point, he purchased a mansion, which was designed by the Las Venturas Planning Department and built in Wapona Hills. With all this power, Starkweather then remained isolated in his mansion, watching everything through security cameras and paying people to do all the dirty work.
Events of ManhuntEdit"Cash, I made you!" - Starkweather's last words before Cash executes him
At some point, a Journalist discovered Starkweather's snuff film ring and begun gathering evidence against him. Meanwhile, Starkweather found out about James Earl Cash and decided to direct a movie starring him. In doing so, he bribes the police and prison officials into releasing Cash from death row.
Cash is given an earpiece so Starkweather can talk to him and instructs him to perform various tasks, while Starkweather watches and films it through security cameras. He also has many sections of the city blocked-off by electric fences, which he can open once Cash has completed a task. He has the Cerberus transport Cash to each location, while Ramirez organize the Hunters.
He soon has Cash's Family kidnapped, for Cash to rescue. Regardless of doing so, Starkweather still has at least one of Cash's family members killed anyway and shows the footage to Cash, enraging him. Nearing the end of the film, Cash is set to die, but Cash managed to fight back and escapes. Starkweather even orders Ramirez to stop him, but Ramirez himself is ultimately killed by Cash. He then has the corrupt police chief, Gary Schaffer, send police forces after Cash and the Journalist. Cash soon breaks into Starkweather’s Estate, and kills all the Cerberus guarding the compound. Cash then enters Starkweather's office and Starkweather attempts to defend himself with a Revolver, but fails and is killed by Cash with a Chainsaw.
- Rockstar possibly named Lionel Starkweather after Charles Starkweather.
- Despite being the main antagonist and being heard throughout the game, he is only seen in person during the final mission, Deliverance.
- In Bully, civilians from New Coventry can be heard conversing on rare occasions about someone named Starkweather.
- Starkweather's art panel states "throughout the game, he constantly rants against the movie industry and the people who crossed him". This doesn't occur in the final release.
- During the mission Architectural Espionage in San Andreas, blueprints of Starkweather's Estate can be found.
- Starkweather has several lines of dialogue which are unused/rare, such as "Look, I can supply you with a day glow jump suit if you want one." whenever Cash is spotted.
- Starkweather's mansion has a similar interior to the Vercetti Estate from GTA: Vice City.
- Starkweather is the only character to speak during his execution. All hunters just make grunts to show their pain.