Leonardo DiCaprio to Play Jonestown Cult Leader Jim Jones in New Movie

Leonardo DiCaprio has found his next major role. The actor will star in Jim Jones as the religious cult leader who orchestrated a mass suicide that resulted in over 900 deaths. DiCaprio is reportedly in final talks to star in the project, which he will produce for his Appian Way banner with Jennifer Davisson, reports Deadline. MGM secured the project, which was written by Venom and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle co-writer Scott Rosenberg.

Jones was the founder of the Peoples Temple, which began in Indianapolis in 1955 and promoted Christian Socialism. In the mid-1960s, he brought the Peoples Temple to San Francisco and became a political activist. In the early 1970s, he began rejecting traditional Christianity and claimed he was God. In 1974, he started building Jonestown in Guyana, and he started convincing his followers to live there so they could be free from the U.S. government.

In 1978, media reports of human rights abuses at Jonestown began to surface, inspiring U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan to bring a delegation to the commune to investigate. When Ryan and his group were preparing to leave, along with Jonestown residents who wanted to go back to the U.S., they were shot and killed by Jonestown gunmen. After that, Jones ordered the mass murder-suicide of his commune members. Almost all of the 918 commune members who died drank Flavor Aid laced with cyanide. Over 300 of the victims were children. Jones' story has been the subject of several documentaries and movies. Powers Boothe won an Emmy for playing Jones in the 1980 TV movie Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones.

DiCaprio's next movie is Don't Look Up, an all-star comedy starring Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, and Meryl Streep about two scientists who have to warn the world about an asteroid. The Adam McKay-directed film hits Netflix on Dec. 24, following a brief theatrical run starting on Dec. 10. DiCaprio also recently filmed Killers of the Flower Moon, which reunited him with Martin Scorsese. DiCaprio won the Best Actor Oscar for The Revenant (2016) and was nominated in the category last year for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

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This is also another major win for MGM, which recently released the latest James Bond film No Time to Die, which recently crossed the $700 million mark at the international box office. The studio is also behind Ridley Scott's House of Gucci, Paul Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza, and Joe Wright's Cyrano musical, all of which are expected to compete at the Oscars. In May, Amazon agreed to buy the studio, reportedly for $8.45 billion.