Leonardo DiCaprio might play religious cult leader Jim Jones in the upcoming MGM feature film Jim Jones. Jones was responsible for the November 1978 mass suicide at Jonestown, which claimed the lives of over 900 people.
According to Deadline, the Oscar-winner is in final talks to play the cult leader. MGM won a preemptive contract for the film, with DiCaprio also producing. The writer behind films such as Venom, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and its sequel, Scott Rosenberg, will write the script and be an executive producer on the film.
Jones established the Peoples Temple in Indianapolis in 1955, claiming it to be a completely integrated congregation preaching Christian Socialism. By the 1970s, he had openly repudiated orthodox Christianity and declared himself to be God. In 1974, he built Jonestown in Guyana and drew a following to live with him there as he promoted a socialist paradise free of U.S. government tyranny. In November 1978, amid accusations of human rights violations, the United States government dispatched a mission led by U.S. Representative Leo Ryan. Ryan, along with four other Jonestown defectors, would be assassinated by Jones’ followers. Following the incident, Jones organized a mass murder-suicide of his followers, killing 918 commune members, 304 of whom were children, by swallowing cyanide-laced Flavor Aid.
DiCaprio’s next film is Netflix’s comedy Don’t Look Up by director Adam McKay that is set to hit the streaming service next month.