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Leonardo DiCaprio as Jim Jones. The Oscar-winner will play the leader of the American sect, the Temple of the People

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Leonardo DiCaprio is to play the role of Jim Jones – the leader of the Temple of the People religious sect, whose members committed mass suicide in Guyana in 1978. Scott Rosenberg will be responsible for the script for the film. The start of shooting is planned for the end of 2022.

Awarded an Oscar for his lead role in “The Revenant”, Leonardo DiCaprio faces another interesting challenge. The actor, who will turn 47 on November 11, will play Jim Jones – the leader of the Temple of the People religious sect responsible for the mass suicide of over 900 people on November 18, 1978.

The director of the film has not yet been selected. Scott Rosenberg, on the other hand, was entrusted with creating the script. Earlier, Rosenberg became famous mainly as a co-creator of rather entertainment productions, such as “Venom” or “Jumanji”. The film is slated to start shooting at the end of 2022.

Jim Jones – Who was the leader of the People’s Temple?

Jim Jones was born on May 13, 1931 in the American state of Indiana. In 1956, he founded a religious sect in the United States called the Full Gospel Church People’s Temple. In 1974, together with hundreds of his followers, he moved to Guyana. The settlement of Jonestown was established in inaccessible forest areas.

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The place that was supposed to be “heaven on earth” turned out to be more like hell. A preacher forced his followers to slave labor, seized their estates, terrorized, intimidated and brainwashed. He persuaded the faithful that the outside world threatened them, seeks to destroy Jonestown. The followers of the Temple of the People lived in an atmosphere of constant terror. They could not contact their loved ones or leave the camp. They were flogged for disobedience, and children – for rude behavior according to the Reverend – with a series of electric shocks. Sexual violence was commonplace there.

A turning point in the history of the Temple of the People came in November 1978, when the settlement was visited by Congressman Leo Ryan. The Democrat representative has demanded that Jones let those who so wish leave the settlement. Eventually, the Reverend agreed that several people would leave the colony with Ryan. When the congressman, along with reporters and rescued members of the sect, arrived at the airport, a group of Jones’ followers opened fire on them. Five people were killed in the attack, including Congressman Leo Ryan himself.

The consequence of these events was the so-called “White Night”. Jones informed his supporters that in the face of the situation, the only option was to commit mass suicide. Almost everyone accepted this information without objections. Those who disagreed with the preacher’s words were murdered. Mass suicide was committed using cyanide. Among the victims were also small children, whom their parents injected the poison intravenously or administered them in sweetened drinks.

Jim Jones himself was killed by a shot to the head. It is not known, however, whether it was a suicide or if one of his followers helped him.

Leonardo DiCaprio on his way to the second Oscar?

The history of the Jim Jones sect is material for a powerful and poignant cinematic drama. The role of a leader of a religious sect prone to psychopathic behavior, who has manipulated hundreds of people, could once again open the way for DiCaprio in the race for the most prestigious of the cinema awards. Leonardo has proven several times that he is successful in playing characters with two personalities – examples include Jay in love in “The Great Gatsby” or Rick Dalton in “Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood”.

DiCaprio has earned five Oscar nominations. Only the 2015 film “The Revenant” and the role of Hugh Glass, struggling to survive in extreme conditions, overwhelmed with revenge, won him the Academy Award.

Main photo source: taniavolobueva / Shutterstock.com

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