LOS ANGELES: "500 Days of Summer" star Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been tapped to essay the role of cult leader Jim Jones in "White Night", a film about one of the largest murder-suicides in history.
Jones was a preacher who founded the People's Temple, a new religious organisation that existed between 1955 and 1978.
He and his inner circle orchestrated "the Jonestown Massacre", a mass murder-suicide in his remote jungle commune at Jonestown, Guyana, on November 18, 1978.
According to Variety, "Hugo" actor Chloe Grace Moretz also stars in the psychological thriller in which she will play Deborah Layton, a member of the inner circle.
Based on Layton's bestselling memoir "Seductive Poison", "White Night" follows Layton's (Moretz) haunting true story, as she rises through the ranks at People's Temple, only to turn on Jones and fight to expose the truth about him to the world before it's too late.
Anne Sewitsky of "A Very British Scandal" fame will direct the film from a script by William Wheeler, known for "The Ghost in the Shell".
FilmNation Entertainment will finance the movie and produce it with Archer Gray.
Amy Nauiokas, CEO of Archer Gray, said it is about time people heard Layton's story.
"Debbie's incredible journey with the People's Temple deserves an audience across generations. 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," Nauiokas added.
Sewitsky's urgent, thrilling vision for the film will make "White Night" a propulsive experience for this moment, said FilmNation's president of production Ashley Fox.
"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," Fox further said.
Filming on "White Night" will begin in spring.