The alleged sex trafficking cult linked to Smallville actress Allison Mack is the focus for not one, but two upcoming projects. A scripted story based on true events, and a docuseries, will be based on the reported cult, NXIVM. The docuseries has already begun shooting.
Just five days ago, Mack was arrested by the FBI in connection with the alleged cult. She was released on bond yesterday. Mack was accused of recruiting women under the guise of a self-help group. Instead, the women were allegedly forced to undergo half-hour branding ceremonies in which the cult's founder, Keith Raniere, would mark the women with his initials. The women were then allegedly forced into sexual slavery or forced labor. Raniere was arrested in connection with the cult in March. It was said that Mack was one of Raniere's highest ranking members within NXIVM. At the time of her arrest, a representative of Mack's had no comment on the situation.
THR reports of an upcoming scripted series that would be inspired by actual events that transpired within the alleged cult. Annapurna Television optioned the rights to the New York Times expose about NXIVM published late last year. The series is intended to explore the trauma of the women inducted into NXIVM. The story will dive into the experience of the victims being hoodwinked, thinking they were joining an empowering self-help group and then being ritually assaulted. Westworld actress Shannon Woodward will executive produce the series, along with Megan Ellison, Susan Goldberg, and Sue Naegle of Annapurna Television.
Along with the based-on-a-true-story scripted series, an NXIVM docuseries is also in the works, per Deadline. This series will follow the efforts of Canadian actress Sarah Edmondson (Psych) and her husband, Anthony Ames, to simulate back into society after breaking away from the alleged cult. Edmondson was one of the first women to speak out about the abuse she suffered by Raniere inside the cult. The couple were also reportedly responsible for recruiting more victims into the cult and have been attempting to help fellow members to escape.
The actress and her husband have already begun to work with the head of the Cult Education Institute, Rick Alan Ross, to try to heal from their ordeal inside NXIVM. Some of their reformative journey has already been documented, and it is this footage that will be used in the docuseries.
Considering the rise in popularity of true crime media, which may be attributed to the massive success of the podcast Serial and similar content, it's no wonder these TV series are in the works. How they turn out and the response to them by viewers, though, remains to be seen.