MGM has bought the script for a feature project currently titled Jim Jones, from Venom writer Scott Rosenberg and, according to Deadline, Leonardo DiCaprio is in final talks to star as the 1970s cult leader.

Jones was behind the infamous Jonestown mass murder-suicide on November 18th, 1978, which claimed the lives of more than 900 of his followers. Founder of the Peoples Temple in 1955, Jones promoted this new religious organisation as a fully integrated congregation promoting Christian Socialism; by the ’70s however, he had rejected Christianity and instead proclaimed that he was God. This led to the construction of Jonestown, a remote jungle commune in Guyana which he hailed as a socialist paradise free from American governmental oppression.

Cult leader Jim Jones

Jim Jones (Credit: Getty)

Responding to media reports of human rights abuses at Jonestown however, the U.S. sent a delegation led by Representative Leo Ryan on a fact-finding mission – Ryan and four others would be gunned down by Jones’ followers just as they were boarding a return flight with fifteen former Temple members who wished to leave. Soon after, Jones orchestrated the mass murder-suicide of over 900 (reports vary between 909 and 918) members of his commune, including 304 children, by means of cyanide-laced Flavor Aid. Jones subsequently killed himself by gunshot. The Jonestown massacre was, before 9/11, the largest single incident of intentional civilian death in American history.

DiCaprio will also produce Jim Jones for his Appian Way company. A director is yet to be confirmed.



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