The Leader: Michael C. Hall, Grace Caroline Currey join Heaven’s Gate cult biopic

Michael C. Hall and Grace Caroline Currey have joined Tim Blake Nelson, Vera Farmiga, and Simon Rex in The Leader

Earlier this year, we heard that Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) and Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring) would be starring in The Leader, a true crime biopic about a story that shocked the world back in 1997, the mass suicide of the members of the Heaven’s Gate cult. Now Deadline reports that Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and Grace Caroline Currey (Shazam! Fury of the Gods) have joined the cast, which also includes Simon Rex (Red Rocket).

Farmiga will be playing cult leader Bonnie Nettles, a.k.a. Ti. Nelson’s character is the cult’s infamous frontman, Marshall Applewhite, a.k.a. Do. According to Deadline, “Hall will play a key devotee: a wealthy addict who attempts to win favor with Applewhite by financially supporting the cult with his trust fund. Currey will play an Oregon-based boutique owner who drops out of society in the late 1970s to join the cult – leaving her family and fiancé behind.” Rex’s character is “a key devotee of the religion who faces devastating consequences when he falls in love with a fellow cult member.”

According to The Hollywood ReporterThe Leader tells the true story of the 39 members of Heaven’s Gate — an American UFO cult that believed its followers could transform into immortal extraterrestrials and would ascend to heaven — and how they would commit the largest mass suicide to ever take place on American soil. The film tracks Nettles and Applewhite as they develop the religion, build a devout following and face unforeseen conflict when the spaceship they believed would transport their resurrected selves fails to arrive.

Michael Gallagher (Funny Story) has written the screenplay and will be directing the film. He provided the following statement about the project: “Vera Farmiga and Tim Blake Nelson are two of the finest actors working today. We are honored to partner with them to tell this incredible story. The Leader will depict the Heaven’s Gate tragedy through the lens of hope and heartbreak. It is a film about the dangers of self-deception, the thirst for human connection and the mystery of faith.

Cinemand and Balcony 9 Productions are producing the film, and The Exchange will be presenting the project to potential buyers at the European Film Market. The producers are Jana Winternitz, Michael Wormser, and Gallagher of Cinemand, plus Joel David Moore and Max Osswald of Balcony 9 Productions. Rishi Bajaj and Daniel Taborga of Balcony 9 Productions serve as executive producers alongside Cassian Elwes, Evan Silverberg, and Entertainment 360. The Exchange’s Nat McCormick had this to say: “The Heaven’s Gate mass suicide is one of the most fascinating and unprecedented true crime events in American History. It’s hard to comprehend how it all coalesced. And that’s exactly what this movie is about. Tim and Vera portraying the messiahs of Heaven’s Gate is going to be something to behold.

How does The Leader sound to you, and what do you think of Michael C. Hall and Grace Caroline Currey joining Tim Blake Nelson, Vera Farmiga, and Simon Rex in the cast? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Source: Deadline

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.