Vince Gilligan, Octavia Spencer, Michelle MacLaren Behind New Jonestown Drama at HBO


HBO is joining forces with Breaking Bad’s Vince Gilligan and Michelle MacLaren, along with producer/actress Octavia Spencer, for a drama based on the Jim Jones mass murder-suicide tragedy at Jonestown in the 1970s.

Raven is a limited series currently in development, based on the nonfiction book Raven: The Untold Story of Jim Jones and His People by Tim Reiterman — a journalist and survivor of the ’70s cult attrocity (he traveled with Congressman Leo Ryan during an investigative trip to the compound and was shot by Jones’ guards). According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gilligan and his High Bridge Productions will write the script and executive produce alongside Spencer, who originally nabbed the rights to the book with Reilly Smith. MacLaren will also executive produce the project.

Jim Jones was the dubious leader of the religious group known as The Peoples Temple, which ventured to Guyana to create a utopian society known as Jonestown. But on November 18, 1978 nearly 1,000 people at Jonestown died from cyanide poisoning, prompted by Jones.

Raven is the second Jonestown project in the making, along with Jake Gyllenhaal’s A&E drama that explores the lives of different American cult leaders, including Jones.