Sleepy Hollow star Orlando Jones has optioned the rights to the life story of a controversial cult deprogrammer. The former Mad TV player, who currently appears as the perpetually doomed Captain Irving on Fox’s supernatural drama, has acquired the rights to the life of Ted Patrick for his Drive-By Entertainment production company.
Patrick rose to prominence in the 1970s for his work as a self-taught brainwashing expert, often hired by families to break their children free from religious indoctrination. He spent decades removing members—sometimes forcibly—from groups accused of being cults, using methods that ranged to the extremes of imprisonment and forced starvation. In the process, he racked up copious praise from the Cult Awareness Network and public figures like Senator Bob Dole, as well as multiple lawsuits and felony convictions due to complaints from the people he was trying to help. (He also picked up a pretty colorful Wikipedia page, including references to voodoo speech therapy and the role of testicle-grabbing in transporting intransigent cult victims.)
Jones is working with business partner Noam Dromi to turn Patrick’s life into a screenplay, with an eye toward creating a star vehicle for the actor. Jones is no stranger to brainwashing himself, having spent several years in the late ’90s attempting to make people think 7 Up was a viable alternative to Sprite.