Breaking Bad duo Vince Gilligan and Michelle MacLaren are reuniting for an HBO miniseries, so if you were looking for a reason to smile today, there you go. The pair has reunited for a drama based on the infamous cult leader Jim Jones who led the followers of his Peoples Temple to horrific mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. Gilligan will write the miniseries and MacLaren will direct. Both will executive produce alongside Octavia Spencer, who optioned the rights to the source material four years ago, for Sony Pictures TV. Spencer is not expected to act in the project.
The series is based on the non-fiction book ‘Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People’ by Tim Reiterman, a journalist who survived the events in Gyuana. The book is described as the definitive history of the Jim Jones and The People’s Temple, spanning from its idealistic beginning through its tragic end.
Gilligan and MacLaren, who first collaborated on The X-Files episode John Doe, share two best drama series Emmys as executive producers of Breaking Bad. MacLaren also directed the standout episode “Mijo” on Gilligan’s critically acclaimed Breaking Bad spinoff series Better Call Saul (which is up for a Best Drama Emmy this year).
MacLaren has also recently directed episodes of The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and The Leftovers, as well as episodes of the upcoming David Simon drama The Deuce and HBO’s highly-anticipated Westworld series. MacLaren was previously attached to direct Wonder Woman, but that deal fell through and Patty Jenkins stepped. She is currently slated to make her feature film directorial debut with an adaptation of Kristin Hannah‘s best-selling World War II novel, The Nightingale.
Here’s the official synopsis for Raven, via Amazon.
Tim Reiterman’s Raven provides the definitive history of the Rev. Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and the murderous ordeal at Jonestown three decades ago. This PEN Award–winning work explores the ideals-gone-wrong, the intrigue, and the grim realities behind the Peoples Temple and its implosion in the jungle of South America. Reiterman’s reportage clarifies enduring misperceptions of the character and motives of Jim Jones, the reasons why people followed him, and the important truth that many of those who perished at Jonestown were victims of mass murder rather than suicide.