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Actor Bonnie Piesse, who was one of the whistleblowers who helped bring down the controversial self-help group NXIVM in 2017, has now been cast in a new “Star Wars” spin-off series.
On Monday, Piesse announced on Instagram that she has been cast in “Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi,” an upcoming Disney+ series.
“So this is happening! I don’t have words to express my excitement/gratitude,” she wrote.
Piesse is no stranger to the “Star Wars'' universe. The Australian actor and singer appeared in two films in the series: “Attack of the Clones” in 2002 and “Revenge of the Sith” in 2005 as Beru Lars.
In 2010, Mark Vicente, who is now her husband, introduced her to NXIVM. For years, both were devout members of the upstate New York-based group.
NXIVM is an organization devoted to unlocking human potential through a curriculum centered around behavioral and psychological modification. However, the controversial group has a dark core. A secret sect within NXIVM, known as DOS, consisted of master-slave relationships based on coercion and blackmail; it was called a sex cult by prosecutors. After a 2020 trial, the group's leader, Keith Raniere, was sentenced to 120 years in federal prison for a slew of charges that included sex crimes. Other high-ranking members of the alleged cult are still awaiting sentencing.
HBO’s 2020 nine-part series, “The Vow,” documented how Piesse began to suspect that something sinister was going on in the group while observing that the women closest to Raniere were beginning to look "zombie-like." She left the group in 2017. While her suspicions were initially discounted — even by Vicente — soon she and a small group of other fellow and then-current NXIVM members fought to expose Raniere and other corrupt, high-ranking members.
Eventually, their work led to arrests. In September, however, Vicente told The Hollywood Reporter that he believes there are "maybe 50 to 60 people that are still very loyal to Raniere."
Vicente congratulated his wife on her news on his Instagram on Monday.
"Cats out of the bag!” he wrote. “My Warrior Wife @bonniempiesse will be reprising her role as Beru!”
Piesse will be playing a young Beru in the new series. Beru is Luke Skywalker’s aunt, who raised him on the planet Tatooine.
While production for “Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi” was delayed in 2020, it's now scheduled to resume in April, Entertainment Tonight reports. Piesse will be starring alongside actors Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Moses Ingram, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, and Sung Kang.
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