Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio is in final talks to play religious cult leader Jim Jones in MGM’s upcoming feature written by Scott Rosenberg, Variety has confirmed.
Known as the leader of the Peoples Temple religious group, Jones was behind the November 1978 mass suicide at his Jonestown settlement that took more than 900 lives. Jones and his inner circle orchestrated the massacre at the jungle commune in Guyana, with the followers directed to drink cyanide-adulterated punch.
MGM secured a deal for the feature project in a preemptive situation, with DiCaprio also producing the project alongside Jennifer Davisson for their Appian Way production company. Rosenberg (“Venom,” “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Jumanji: The Next Level”) is also on board as an executive producer. Rosenberg is represented by WME.
Founded in 2001 by DiCaprio, Appian Way Productions produced Alejandro Iñárritu’s three-time Academy Award-winner “The Revenant,” Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award-nominated “The Wolf of Wall Street,” the Academy Award-nominated “The Aviator” and “Shutter Island” (all starring DiCaprio), as well as the Peabody Award-winning documentary “Sea of Shadows,” Scott Cooper’s “Out of the Furnace” and George Clooney’s “The Ides of March,” among others. Appian currently is in production on Apple’s “Shining Girls,” starring Elizabeth Moss. Davisson serves as president of production.
DiCaprio next stars opposite Jennifer Lawrence in Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up” for Netflix and in Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” for Apple Originals Films. Over the course of his prolific career, the actor has played a host of historical figures, including infamous con man Frank Abagnale in “Catch Me If You Can,” Howard Hughes in “The Aviator” and frontiersman Hugh Glass in “The Revenant,” for which he earned the best actor Oscar in 2016 (he’s been nominated a total of seven times). DiCaprio is repped by LBI Entertainment and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman.
Deadline was first to report news of DiCaprio’s involvement in the project.