Joseph Gordon-Levitt to Play Cult Leader Jim Jones in Film About Jonestown Massacre with Chloë Grace Moretz
Gordon-Levitt, 40, will embody cult leader Jim Jones, who as the head of the Peoples Temple led more than 900 of his followers to die by suicide by drinking cyanide-laced punch in a remote commune in South America, PEOPLE confirms.
Carrie star Chloë Grace Moretz is also set to star in the film, portraying a member of Jones' inner circle who survived and went on to recount her experiences — which serve as the basis for the film.
White Night, to be directed by Norwegian filmmaker Anne Sewitsky, is based on Deborah Layton's best-selling memoir Seductive Poison, Variety reported. The script was written by William Wheeler.
"Debbie [Layton]'s incredible journey with the People's Temple deserves an audience across generations,' " Amy Nauiokas, CEO of Archer Gray, which is co-producing the film, said in a statement per Variety. "It should serve as warning about the power a certain type of charismatic leader can have and the very real lessons to be learned from our history."
"When we first read Bill Wheeler's adaptation, it was seeing this infamous story from Deborah's point of view that unlocked it psychologically and dramatically. Entering Jim Jones' magnetic orbit through the eyes of an idealistic, passionate young woman reminded us that anyone can fall victim to extremism, given the right circumstances," said co-producing partner FilmNation's president of production Ashley Fox, the outlet reports.
RELATED VIDEO: Jonestown survivors Jerry and Tracy Parks recall Jim Jones' plans for mass suicide
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"Anne's urgent, thrilling vision for the film will make White Night a propulsive, immersive experience for this moment, while being the definitive portrayal of this timeless story."
As for Gordon-Levitt, he is soon set to portray a different real-life person, Uber founder Travis Kalanick, in the upcoming Showtime limited series Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber.