Actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Chloë Grace Moretz have been tapped to play the leads in White Night, a film adaptation of Deborah Layton’s book Seductive Poison, according to Variety. The memoir details Layton’s involvement in the Peoples Temple, which was founded by Jim Jones and led to the horrific Jonestown Massacre in Guyana, where 918 members were killed as a result of cyanide poisoning in 1978. Gordon-Levitt will play Jones and Moretz will play Layton, who becomes a member of Jones’ inner circle.
White Night comes from Archer Gray and FilmNation Entertainment, which both had positive words to share about the announcement of this project. Archer Gray CEO Amy Nauiokas said that “Debbie Layton’s Seductive Poison was the first book Anne Carey and I optioned at Archer Gray, and it formed the foundation of our mission to help give voice to the stories it was time to hear. 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.”
Film Nation president of production Ashley Fox also found the subject matter and its approach extremely appealing. “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. Anne’s urgent, thrilling vision for the film will make White Night a propulsive, immersive experience for this moment, while being the definitive portrayal of this timeless story.”
Gordon-Levitt recently starred in Mr. Corman for Apple TV+. Moretz had the lead role in Hulu’s Mother/Android and also mentioned that she might return to the franchise that started her career, Kick-Ass. Norwegian director Anne Sewitsky, whose terrific first film Happy Happy won a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011 and recently worked on Amazon Prime Video’s upcoming A Very British Scandal, will helm the film, which will be written by William Wheeler, whose past credits include Queen of Katwe and Ghost in the Shell. Filming is set to begin this spring.