A drama movie about the Jonestown mass suicide is gaining momentum, with Leonardo DiCaprio in talks to star. Deadline reports DiCaprio is in final negotiations to portray Jim Jones, the cult leader at the forefront of the tragedy.
The film, based on a script by Venom and Jumanji writer Scott Rosenberg, is being developed by MGM. Jones started the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project in 1955, a commune based on a reformed version of Christianity. Dozens of families came to live on-site over the course of decades, and in the late ’70s investigations uncovered human rights abuses by Jones, who believed himself to be a Godly figure.
This all came to a head in 1978, when, after killing several agents of the US government, Jones organised a complete murder-suicide across everyone still at the temple. The incident became known as the Jonestown Massacre, with 918 people dead as a result, mostly from cyanide poisoning, a significant portion are believed to have been unwillingly injected, and over 300 of the victims were minors. Jones himself was among the dead.
The movie will be named Jim Jones, after the eponymous leader. Besides playing Jones, DiCaprio will also produce, under his company Appian Way. Jennifer Davisson is another producer, having worked on The Right Stuff for streaming service Disney Plus previously.
This is but one more project on DiCaprio’s calendar at the moment. In the near future, he has Netflix comedy movie Don’t Look Up on the way, and further down the line, he’s working on Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, which is due to arrive on Apple TV Plus sometime next year.
There’s no release date for Jim Jones, but we have the best movies based on a true story to scratch the itch for historical drama.