Maisie Williams and Freddie Highmore are set to star in an adaptation of a bizarre true story about an American ex-beauty queen who was accused of kidnapping and raping a Mormon missionary in England.
Entitled Sinner V. Saints, the film will be directed by Tim Kirkby (Fleabag, Veep) and will be shopped to buyers at the Cannes Film Market next week.
Set in 1970s Los Angeles and London, the film is based on the true story of Joyce McKinney, who went to extreme lengths to stop the Mormon church from taking away her sexual obsession: a nebbish Mormon missionary named Kirk Anderson.
The sordid relationship, which was the subject of the excellent 2010 Errol Morris documentary Tabloid, went awry and eventually resulted in accusations of kidnapping and rape against McKinney.
Jill Hoppe has written the script based on the book Joyce McKinney and the Case of the Manacled Mormon by Anthony Delano. Mark Williams and Andriana Williams are producing. Kirkby said in a statement:
“I’ve never read a more no-holds-barred fever dream of a script that whisks the reader on a journey of sex, obsession, and rock ‘n’ religion like Sinner V. Saints. Obsessive, first love is a magnificent premise, and sprinkle on top a killer true story involving abduction, quirky supporting characters and the era of free love, and you have a cocktail of something very potent.”
“It’s rare to find an over-the-top true story with compelling characters and zany twists and turns like this,” Andriana Williams added. “The all-consuming passion, absurd lawbreaking, and outrageous antics made news around the world then and can be sure to entertain today.”
The film will begin shooting in the first quarter of 2023 in both the U.S. and U.K.