Leonardo DiCaprio To Play Cult Leader Jim Jones

Leonardo DiCaprio

by James White |
Updated on

Leonardo DiCaprio continues to flit between the genres – he has Adam McKay's new comedy and Martin Scorsese's latest historical drama thriller on the way. And he's sticking with historical drama for a potential new film – one about cult leader Jim Jones.

Venom and Jumanji: The Next Level co-writer Scott Rosenberg cranked out the script for this one, which will follow Jones' ill-fated time as a cult leader. He founded the Peoples Temple in Indianapolis in 1955, and hailed it as a fully integrated congregation promoting Christian Socialism. By the 1970s he openly rejected traditional Christianity and claimed that he was God.

He constructed Jonestown in Guyana in 1974 and spurred a following to live with him there as he touted a socialist paradise free from US government oppression. Amid rumors of human rights abuses, the U.S. government sent a delegation led by US Representative Leo Ryan in November 1978. Ryan along with four other Jonestown defectors would eventually be gunned down by Jones’ followers. Following the shooting, Jones orchestrated a mass murder-suicide of his followers, which took 918 commune members, 304 of them children, in an act that entailed drinking Flavor Aid laced with cyanide. It's the event that birthed the phrase "drinking the Kool-Aid" to describe those following dangerous ideas, even though it was the cheaper competitor used at the time.

MGM has snapped up the rights to the script, and DiCaprio will produce alongside Rosenberg. The next step will be to find a director.

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