US actor Leonardo DiCaprio is expected to play cult leader Jim Jones in a new biopic.
The Oscar winner’s film company Appian Way is set to produce the feature film alongside Jennifer Davisson on behalf of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Studios.
DiCaprio is still in talks with the studio about the script, which was penned by screenwriter/producer Scott Rosenberg.
The film will chronicle Jones’ rise as a religious leader who founded the Indianapolis based Peoples Temple in 1955 before outright rejecting traditional Christianity and claiming to be God himself.
Jones took his loyal flock of over 1,000 members to a remote settlement that was named Jonestown in Port Kaituma, Guyana where they followed socialist ideologies.
On November 18, 1978, the US Government sent representative Leo Ryan to investigate reports of human rights abuses in the camp.
Ryan, along with four others, were murdered byPeoples Temple devotee Larry Layton as they attempted to leave an airstrip.
Following the incident, Jones ordered followers to consume a drink that was laced with cyanide.
Over 900 people, including several hundred children, died.
Jones took his own life shortly before Guyanese law enforcement entered the camp.
Guyanese expressed mixed views about the film on social media.
“Why are they looking to review this dark part of our nation’s history? This man murdered hundreds of people and should not be celebrated or given this much attention,” one man commented.
Another Guyanese wrote: “A dark day in Guyana’s history that’s not allowed to rest in peace. Hasn’t enough been told about Jim Jones? Why a new movie now?”
One man is hoping that Guyana’s actors and culture would be given a positive light in the movie.
“This movie won’t seem right if CCH Pounder isn’t in it,” he commented.