Hollywood moves fast, because The Hollywood Reporter says that Annapurna Television has optioned the rights to a 2017 exposé published by The New York Times about self-help group-turned-sex cult NXIVM and its founder (and self-titled Vanguard) Keith Raniere, and will be turning it into a series.
The NYT piece, written by Barry Meier, touched on all the alleged awfulness we already know that Keith’s harem members had to endure. One of the people who helped expose NXIVM to Barry was Catherine Oxenberg, who was told by an ex-NXIVM member that her daughter India Oxenberg was currently a member of Keith’s sex cult.
The exposé does not mention Allison Mack at all. It instead focuses on Keith and a higher-up named Lauren Salzman. THR says that Annapurna Television is hoping to adapt the piece as a “one-hour fictionalized scripted series inspired by actual events.” So that means there probably won’t be any characters named Keith, Lauren, or Allison. And it won’t be called NXIVM, but something equally initial-y, like THE MVMNT. But Annapurna does say that the show will follow women who join what they think is an empowering secret sisterhood group that turns out to have just recruited them as sexual slaves to its leader. There will be branding too.
Currently the project is untitled, and has no writer attached. Annapurna is looking for an interested network.
They also don’t have any casting decisions in place, which means it’s up to us to imagine who could do it. But since this project isn’t a biopic, identical matches won’t be needed. No, instead they’ll probably just focus in on actors that can convey a creepy, cult-member vibe. Something tells me if they hold auditions close to Franklin and Bronson in Los Angeles, they’ll find exactly what they’re looking for.
I’m really not surprised Hollywood would jump on NXIVM so fast. I guess I was just expecting it to inspire an episode of Law & Order: SVU first. Hopefully that’s still in the cards, because I’ll be damned if I’m denied the gift of hearing Ice-T say, “He liked ’em to look like the White House from 2001 to 2009 – full of bush.”