Leonardo DiCaprio has played a number of real-life figures throughout his Oscar-winning career, from politicians (J. Edgar Hoover in J. Edgar) and criminal forgers (Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me if You Can) to legendary moguls (Howard Hughes in The Aviator) and corrupt stockbrokers (Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street), to name but a few.
The 46-year-old is poised to add one more as he’s in final talks to step into the shoes of controversial cult leader Jim Jones, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. Written by Scott Rosenberg (Venom, the Jumanji franchise and the upcoming Citadel), the project was picked up by MGM in a pre-emptive deal and finds DiCaprio producing alongside Jennifer Davisson through their Appian Way banner. Rosenberg will get an executive producer credit.
As the leader of the religious group known as the Peoples Temple, Jones was responsible for one of the largest mass deaths in history as he orchestrated a group suicide that claimed the lives of 909 individuals on Nov. 18, 1978, in Jonestown, Guyana. Praised by his followers for his charisma and alleged faith healing abilities, Jones was also derided for being paranoid and allegedly abusing some followers. His story has inspired many books, documentaries and TV specials including the most recent, Truth and Lies: Jonestown, Paradise Lost, a 2018 documentary rolled out on the tragedy’s 40th anniversary. The doc is now streaming on Hulu.
DiCaprio next stars opposite Jennifer Lawrence and a slew of stars in Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up for Netflix and he recently finished a role that finds him reteaming with longtime collaborator Martin Scorsese on Killers of the Flower Moon for Apple TV+.
Deadline broke the news.