September 10, 2016 - 17:15 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - HBO is joining the true-crime parade. The premium cabler is teaming with Breaking Bad duo Vince Gilligan and Michelle MacLaren, as well as exec producer/actress Octavia Spencer, for a drama based on Jim Jones and the deadly 1978 Peoples Temple Agricultural Project known as Jonestown, The Hollywood Reporter said.
The in-development limited series, which is called 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 events in Guyana. (The Associated Press called it the "seminal book on the story of Jonestown.")
Raven tells the definitive history of the Peoples Temple, from its idealistic beginnings to its terrible end in Jonestown. The adaptation will focus on Jim Jones, but also on his followers, who, by and large, were ordinary people of good will. It tells the mysterious story of how so many of them came to give up their lives for this man.
Raven is the second drama taking on Jonestown in the works. A&E is teaming with Jake Gyllenhaal to develop an anthology drama that explores different American cult leaders, with season one focusing on Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple.
Gilligan and his Sony Pictures Television-based High Bridge Productions will pen the script and executive produce alongside Octavia Spencer, who originally secured the rights to the book with Reilly Smith, with the latter on board as a co-producer. MacLaren will also exec produce and direct via her MacLaren Entertainment banner.
The drama marks the first collaboration for Gilligan and MacLaren following their Emmy darling AMC drama Breaking Bad. Should Raven go to series, it would become the latest drama for Gilligan, who currently exec produces AMC prequel Better Call Saul. MacLaren's TV credits include Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and HBO's upcoming David Simon drama The Deuce. On the feature side, she next will helm The Nightingale. Gilligan is repped by ICM Partners and Del Shaw. MacLaren is with ICM and Stone Genow.
Spencer, meanwhile, is not currently slated for an onscreen role in Raven. She will next be seen in Fox feature Hidden Figures.