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Leonardo DiCaprio's Next Big Project Will Surprise You

Leonardo DiCaprio has played many different types of roles, from swoon-worthy leading men in romances like "Titanic" to horrible villains like Calvin Candie in "Django Unchanged," over the course of a long and distinguished career. And he's a busy man: his upcoming projects include the star-studded Netflix comedy "Don't Look Up" (via Variety), plus Martin Scorsese's "Killers of the Flower Moon" for Apple Originals Films (via /Film), based on the non-fiction book by David Grann. 

He's also known for taking on quite a few roles in which he plays real people from history, including people like Howard Hughes in 2004's "The Aviator" and frontiersman Hugh Glass in "The Revenant." Even so, fans might be surprised to hear the role he's decided to take on next. 

Deadline reports that the actor will be playing 1970s cult leader Jim Jones in a new MGM feature film. DiCaprio will also produce the film for his company, Appian Way, from a script by Scott Rosenberg ("Venom").

He'll play the notorious Jim Jones of the Jonestown Massacre

In case you need a refresher, Jim Jones was a religious leader who founded the Peoples Temple in Indianapolis, Indiana in the mid-1950s (per Historic Indianapolis). His seemingly progressive Christian congregation became powerful enough that it attracted thousands of followers and was courted by politicians in San Francisco during the height of its popularity in the early 1970s. By then, he had declared himself God and grown paranoid (via Rolling Stone), moving himself and his followers to a new settlement in the South American country of Guyana in 1974. 

In 1978, word of human rights abuses in Jonestown prompted the U.S government to send a delegation, led by U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan, to witness conditions at Jonestown. Temple gunmen shot him and four Jonestown defectors as they were waiting at an airstrip. Following this incident, Jones ordered a mass-suicide of his followers — more than 900 men, women and children, who all drank punch laced with cyanide. 

Other movies and television shows have taken on the topic before, including the 2006 PBS documentary "Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple" and the 2018 Hulu documentary "Truth and Lies: Jonestown, Paradise Lost." At this early stage, it's unclear how DiCaprio's feature film biopic will portray Jones' story.