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Octavia Spencer Options Award-Winning Tome 'The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones & His People'

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by Tambay A. Obenson
October 26, 2012 10:58 AM
6 Comments
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Interesting... it wouldn't be the first book I'd expect her to option, but still an interesting choice.

I lifted the below paragraph from the November issue of Elle magazine (with Sarah Jessica Parker on the cover; their "Women In Hollywood" issue): 

What she really wants to do is produce. "George Clooney - yes I'm dropping a name - told me to find projects, work with the best," Spencer says. She just optioned Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People. "I thought it was time for people to understand where that phrase, 'don't drink the Kool-aid' actually came from. There are so many parts in it. I don't want to have to carry the weight of anything. I want to share the load. I want to be always part of an ensemble."

Again, an interesting choice, as well as her revelation that she's not exactly keen on carrying a film, and would seemingly rather be one piece of a larger puzzle.

As for the book... it's an award-winning 700-page tome, penned by Tim Reiterman, published in 2008, and is said to be the definitive history of the Rev. Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and the murderous ordeal at Jonestown 30 years ago.

The book 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.

Over 900 people died on that tragic day in November 1978. 

Spencer doesn't say much more about the option; a lot still has to happen before it becomes a movie, or whatever her plans might be for it (it could be a TV mini-series as well, given the scope of the work and real-life events the book is based on).

She obviously wouldn't star, but I'd guess that her role will be significant, maybe as one of the Peoples Temple members...???

But glad to see Ms Spencer taking charge of her career, instead of waiting for projects to come to her.

She has several films at various stages of development, scheduled to be out in the next 12 to 24 months - a starring role in Diablo Cody’s directing debut; and a project I'm really looking forward to, Joon-ho Bong's thriller Snowpiercer (he directed the awesome South Korean creature feature The Host), to the Forest Whitaker-producer Oscar Grant project, Fruitvale, as well as the feature film adaptation of David E. Talbert's Baggage Claim.

Also, already in theaters, the adaptation of Del Shores’ 2003 critically-acclaimed, award-winning play titled The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife, titled Blues For Willadean.

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6 Comments

  • ALM | October 26, 2012 7:32 PMReply

    Lord.

  • Donella | October 26, 2012 3:07 PMReply

    I recall a television film on Jim Jones called Guyana with Powers Boothe and Irene Cara and Brad Dourif. It was chilly. Then I watched E True Hollywood Story or some kind of documentary that had original video footage of the poisonings. I wondered at first whether Octavia Spencer's project would have something new to say, but it looks like they're examining the angle that the poisonings were not suicides. For sure, the deaths of the children were not suicides.

  • genie in a bottle | October 26, 2012 3:06 PMReply

    Octavia Spencer would do a fantastic job as Ursula if Disney ever decides to do a live film adaptation of 'The Little Mermaid.'

  • bondgirl | October 26, 2012 2:27 PMReply

    Anybody who still compares this woman to Hattie McDaniels is blind. She is taking charge, and victim is not her middle name. I'm actually surprised this story hasn't been a feature film (or has it?), given the story. I can only imagine who would play the black adopted son...wait, I'm guessing it'll be David Oyelowo.

  • Critical acclaim | October 26, 2012 1:19 PMReply

    Beautiful photograph of her that I've never seen. Hope she can find her way to longevity.

  • Skrim | October 26, 2012 12:35 PMReply

    She's not doing herself any favors as an artist, let alone the diaspora as a whole, by always taking a supporting role in her projects. I'd like to see her as a main character before the window of appeal & opportunity is lost, especially if she's producing. Maybe she's resigned to the realities of this business and the star power that only Mirrens or Streeps are allowed. That said, the Jim Jones saga is a haunting one and hopefully she'll do justice to it.

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