Freddie Highmore, Maisie Williams Unite for ‘Manacled Mormon Case’ Adaptation ‘Sinner V. Saints’

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Freddie Highmore and Maisie Williams will star in an adaptation of a bizarre true story about an American ex-beauty queen who was accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a Mormon missionary in England.

Entitled “Sinner V. Saints,” the movie is directed by Tim Kirkby (“Fleabag,” “Veep”) and will be sold by WestEnd Films, which is shopping the project to buyers in Cannes next week. The film will begin shooting in the first quarter of 2023 in the U.S. and U.K.

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Set in 1970s Los Angeles and London, “Sinner V. Saints” is based on the true story of Joyce McKinney, who went to extreme lengths to stop the Mormon church from taking away her sexual obsession: a nebbish Mormon missionary named Kirk Anderson. The sordid relationship — which was the focus of the 2010 Errol Morris documentary “Tabloid” — went awry and eventually resulted in accusations of kidnapping and sexual assault against McKinney.

Mark Williams and Andriana Williams are producing.

“It’s rare to find an over-the-top true story with compelling characters and zany twists and turns like this,” said Andriana Williams. “The all-consuming passion, absurd lawbreaking, and outrageous antics made news around the world then and can be sure to entertain today.”

Kirkby added: “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.”

The script is written by Jill Hoppe and based on the book “Joyce McKinney and the Case of the Manacled Mormon” by Anthony Delano.

Maya Amsellem, managing director of WestEnd Films, said: “‘Sinner V. Saints’ takes us on a riotous journey, and we were immediately captivated by Jill’s witty script which brings this incredible true story to life. Combining this with Tim’s exciting directorial vision, we are sure this crazy, colorful film will surprise and delight audiences worldwide.”

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