West End Films has announced that Freddie Highmore and Maisie Williams have signed on to star in a film adaptation of the nonfiction crime novel “Joyce McKinney and the Case of the Manacled Mormon” by Anthony Delano about the real-life story of “an American ex-beauty queen who was accused of kidnapping and raping a Mormon missionary in England”. The film will be titled Sinner V. Saints and will be directed by Tim Kirkby.
Sinner V. Saints will be set in Los Angeles and London in the 1970s. It will follow the true story of Joyce McKinney (Williams) who became obsessed with Mormon missionary Kirk Anderson (Highmore) to the point that she allegedly kidnapped him at gunpoint and held him hostage as a sex slave for three days. McKinney and her accomplice were both arrested but posted bail and absconded from the UK before the trial could be held. The story has previously been documented by Academy Award-winning documentarian Errol Morris in his 2010 documentary Tabloid.
Highmore is best known for playing Charlie Bucket in Tim Burton‘s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Norman Bates in Bates Motel. He also is currently starring in the ABC medical drama The Good Doctor. Williams is best known for starring as Araya Stark in the hit HBO series Game of Thrones and films like The New Mutants and The Book of Love.
The film is being directed by Kirkby who has previously directed episodes of shows like Brockmire, Fleabag, and the upcoming Michael Myers series The Pentaverate. The script has been adapted from Delano’s book by Jill Hoppe. Mark Williams and Andriana Williams are producing the film.
Andriana Williams, commented on the film saying:
“It’s rare to find an over-the-top true story with compelling characters and zany twists and turns like this. The all-consuming passion, absurd lawbreaking, and outrageous antics made news around the world then and can be sure to entertain today.”
Kirkby also gave a statement, adding:
“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 is a pleasure to roll around in the world of our anti-heroine Joyce McKinney.”
Sinner V. Saints is scheduled to begin shooting at the beginning of 2023 in the U.S. and U.K. Stay tuned to Collider for any future updates on this project.