Priyanka Chopra to play convicted bioterrorist Ma Anand Sheela in biopic
Priyanka Chopra Jonas is set to play convicted 80’s bioterrorist Ma Anand Sheela, who was made brought to the spotlight in the Netflix docuseries Wild, Wild Country.
According to Deadline, Priyanka Chopra Jonas has been tapped to play Ma Anand Sheela, the infamous personal secretary of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh from 1981-1985 who led the biggest bioterrorist attack in the United States when she infected the salad bars at 10 local restaurants with salmonella, thereby leading to the food poisoning of 751 individuals.
She was brought into the public light in Netflix’s docuseries Wild, Wild Country. The docuseries, which opened to critical acclaim at Sundance and went on to win the Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series, detailed the rise of controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) and followed the story of the Osho and his community of followers — known as the Rajneesh — in the Rajneeshpuram community, who created a commune located in Wasco County, Oregon in the early 80s.
A major part of the docuseries focused on Ma Anand Sheela, the Osho’s personal secretary and eventual president of the Wasco County commune in Oregon. The county resisted the Osho and his Rajneeshi followers, and Ma Anand Sheela was at the head of the pushback from the commune. During a tense showdown during election season, Sheela is shown recruiting hundreds of homeless people to register to vote in the commune’s favor and conspiring to poison local restaurants with salmonella in order to prevent the locals who opposed the commune from voting against it.
Barry Levinson, who directed Diner, Good Morning, Vietnam and Best Picture winner Rain Man (for which he also won best director), has been tapped to helm the film. The script will be written by relative newcomer Nick Yarborough, who is likewise writing the upcoming Training Day prequel for Warner Bros.