For some, the name Jim Jones might refer to the early 2000’s hip-hop recording artist, but the rest of the world affiliates the name with the cult leader who drove more than 900 of his devotees to commit one of the words most horrifying mass suicides.
The unusual series of events, dubbed the “Jonestown Massacre”, is a hefty topic, dealing with cult culture, blasphemy, abuse, and suicide, but that didn’t shy Breaking Bad creator, Vince Gilligan away from basing his new HBO Drama on the case.
For the series, Gilligan will reunite with Breaking Bad‘s producer/director Michelle MacLaren and Oscar Award winning actress and Executive Producer, Octavia Spencer, though there are no plans for Spencer to act in the project.
The in-development series, titled Raven, is based on the nonfiction book, Raven: The Untold Story of Jim Jones and His People by Tim Reiterman, a Journalist who survived the Jonestown Massacre.
The Jonestown cult was founded in 1955 by Jones, who worked as an Indianapolis preacher. With no formal metaphysical education or experience, Jones based his liberal ministry on a fusion of religious and socialist philosophies. On November 18th 1978, 918 Americans (276 children) died during an intentional mass suicide, including 909 members of the People’s Temple, led by Jim Jones in Jonestown, Guyana.
In what Jones called an act of “revolutionary” suicide, he instructed his followers to ingest cyanide, resulting in the greatest loss of American lives, until the September 11th attacks. The incident inspired many films, documentaries and even the infamous term to “drink the kool-aid”, referring to someone who knowingly goes along with a dangerous idea because of peer pressure.
Gilligan currently serves as executive producer on the Breaking Bad prequel series Better Call Saul. With his resume, the series is bound to be a hit.
Will you tune in?