'Wild Wild Country' Is Getting Turned into a Movie Starring Priyanka Chopra
All about the Bhagwan's top aide, Ma Anand Sheela.
Sheela image via Netflix. Photo of Priyanka Chopra by Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Netflix's Wild Wild Country might be the greatest true crime docuseries on a streaming service littered with great true crime shows. The deep dive into Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh's 1980s cult is a fascinating look at faith, small-town America, and how easily utopian societies can crumble under the weight of their ideologies. Now, it looks like there are a lot more poisoned salads and culty red robes in our future—because Priyanka Chopra is working on adapting the Netflix docuseries into a feature film.
Chopra announced the new project Wednesday morning on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, saying she's going to both produce the film and star in it.
According to Chopra, the movie will focus on Ma Anand Sheela, the Bhagwan's cutthroat top aide who basically ran the cult from behind the scenes.
"We're developing it as the character of Sheela, who was this guru who originated from India, his right-hand woman," Chopra explained to DeGeneres. "And she was just devious and created a whole cult in America, brought people here."
It's unclear whether Chopra will play Sheela, but seeing as how Sheela was the most interesting and singular character in the entire series, it would make sense that Chopra would want that role for herself—and if she's going to star in the thing, it's hard to imagine her playing anyone else.
Barry Levinson, who won a Best Director Oscar for Rain Man and also helmed the terribly-underrated political farce Wag the Dog, among others, is also on board to direct the film.
Chopra didn't give us much in the way of details about the project, so it's unclear how far along she and Levinson are into development, or how they might condense a six-episode docuseries full of some truly mind-boggling twists into a slim two-hour movie. But between the creation of an entire Oregon town worshipping the Bhagwan, an all-out culture war with their blue-collar neighbors, and a whole lot of guns and rigged elections and attempted murders, there's more than enough to work with. Hopefully the now-69-year-old Sheela will fly out from Switzerland or wherever to check the thing out once it finally hits theaters.
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