A&E has put in development an anthology series focused on American cults created by Jake Gyllenhaal, Nine Stories Productions and A&E Studios. The announcement was made today by Elaine Frontain Bryant, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming, for A&E as part of the TCA Winter Press Tour.
Executive produced by Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker (Beasts Of No Nation, The Kids Are All Right), and produced by their Nine Stories Prods in association with A+E Studios, the series will explore a different major cult personality and the provocative nature of belief each season. Season 1 would focus on the notorious story of Jim Jones and his cult The Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ. The series would chronicle Jones’ path from social leader and passionate integrationist to deranged spiritual dictator over a group of followers committed to his dangerous philosophy of faith, culminating in a mass murder-suicide in which 918 people died at the group’s Guyana compound in November 1978.
“Riva and I founded Nine Stories to push creative limits, and have found a wonderful partner in A&E with this fascinating series,” Gyllenhaal stated. “Jim Jones is a complex character – one who has found his way into the collective unconscious. We want to focus on the undeniable magnatism of zealots and the danger of that kind of charisma. A notion not only pertinent to cult leaders but to the geo-political climate of today.”
A+E Networks will handle global sales.