Killer casting

Leonardo DiCaprio confirmed to play American cult leader Jim Jones
By Ella Joyce | Film+TV | 11 November 2021
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Still, BBC Four, Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle, 2020

Having recently returned to the US from his appearance at this year’s COP26 in Glasgow in his position as a UN climate change representative, Leonardo DiCaprio’s next reported move will see him take on the role of infamous Christian cult-leader and mass-murderer Jim Jones, and not only will DiCaprio star, but he is also set to co-produce alongside Venom scriptwriter Scott Rosenberg. 

A controversial figure, to say the least, Jim Jones was responsible for the Jonestown mass suicide of 1978. After founding the People’s Temple in Indianapolis in 1955, Jones claimed to be promoting Christian Socialism – but by the 70s all traditional Christian values had been long forgotten as Jones – a man plagued by hysteria – claimed to be God himself. The next step saw a move to Jonestown in 1974 with the promise of a socialist hideaway free from government intervention, however, amid rumours of human rights abuse the government sent in representatives who were gunned down by Jones’ followers. After the shooting came an organised mass suicide from Jones which saw him issue Flavor Aid laced with cyanide to his commune of 918 members, 304 of them children.

Still, ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’, directed by Martin Scorsese, upcoming 2022

MGM has secured the rights to the script which will see DiCaprio bring one of America’s most harrowing tragedies to life. DiCaprio already has some anticipated projects on the way in the form of Adam McKay’s Netflix comedy Don’t Look Up with Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep and Timothée Chalamet set for release this December, along with Martin Scorsese’s historical drama, Killers of the Flower Moon coming out next year, which sees DiCaprio reunite with Robert De Niro after the pair last worked together in 1993 for This Boy’s Life. While a release date for the Jim Jones adaptation has not been confirmed, it sure seems like cinema’s (and audiences’) appetite for true crime is as insatiable as ever. 

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