Pop Culture Characters Who Would Make Persuasive Cult Leaders

An amateur investigative journalist and his girlfriend infiltrate a group led by an enigmatic woman who claims she hails from the future and will keep those who follow her safe from harm. Initially intent on exposing the woman as a fraud, the couple becomes more deeply immersed in the strange, new world. Zal Batmanglij’s Sound of My Voice — co-written with lead star Brit Marling, who plays the mysterious cult figure — opens in theaters today.

Creepy — and often hilarious — depictions of covert organizations and new religious groups have abounded in pop culture. There are a few figures, however, which haven’t amassed their own cult, but could easily attract legions of followers by sheer personality alone. We examined several pop culture characters that would make persuasive cult leaders below. Chime in with your picks in the comments section.

The Dude

Spouting peace, love, and marijuana (perhaps for compliancy), The Dude’s messianic-casual looks make him a prime candidate for cultdom. He’s already gathered a real-life following, which speaks to his influence — or his ability to spike the White Russians you’ve been sipping with “special” Kool-Aid. The beloved Big Lebowski character also has a built-in mantra (“The Dude abides.”), which is central to any cult leader’s mind control abilities. The Dude promises that all of life’s stresses can be forgotten by going bowling. It’s no sheer coincidence that alley is like a temple.