HBO are Developing a Documentary Film about Scientology.

GanGan
edited November 2014 in Movies
Based on Lawrence Wright's controversial book 'Going Clear,' the documentary from Alex Gibney is likely to draw an aggressive response from the notoriously litigious church

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THR has learned that Oscar winner Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) is putting the finishing touches on a film that tackles the Church of Scientology and its Tinseltown tentacles. HBO, no stranger to controversy, having ushered such hot-button docs as The Case Against 8 and the Paradise Lost trilogy to the screen, is eyeing a 2015 airdate for Going Clear, which is based on Lawrence Wright's controversial book that was also exclusively excerpted in THR.

HBO long has championed documentary filmmaking. It commissioned the Scientology project two years ago, before the book's 2013 publication, when frequent collaborator Gibney brought it to the network. The film, which is expected to feature new revelations about the controversial religion and its famous followers Tom Cruise and John Travolta, almost certainly will draw an aggressive response from the notoriously litigious church.

"We have probably 160 lawyers [looking at the film]," says HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins, who is bracing for protests as well. If the doc is finished in time, it likely will be submitted to the Sundance Film Festival in January.

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HBO and Gibney (UTA, Cowan DeBaets) aren't inclined to back down, having taken on other powerful organizations in the past including the Catholic Church (Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God) and the U.S. military (Taxi to the Dark Side). And though Wright says he has received threatening letters from lawyers representing Hollywood Scientologists, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author is prevailing in the battle of wills. Thanks to HBO, his story of physical abuse and imprisonment within the church now will reach a much wider audience.

Says Nevins, "And this time, we'll be ready."
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/hbo-prepping-bombshell-scientology-film-751497

Interesting.

Comments

  • FreddyFreddy Denton, Texas
    Well, there goes any chance at Tom Cruise and Travolta as the leads in True Detective - Season 9.
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    Isn't Louis Theroux doing one as well, it is that just a fantasy of mine I've made myself believe is real?
  • I don't think I've heard about a Lois Theroux one. But the more light cast, the better, I say.

    Really hope that HBO have enough money to not get sued into oblivion. There's some interesting articles concerning Scientology that I'm not sure if I'm allowed to link to on this forum such as Operation Snow White, and Operation Freakout, and even a few deaths.
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Any and all take downs of cults are welcome on Bald Move forums.
  • FlukesFlukes Calgary, Canada
    This came across my Flipboard feed this morning. I got really, really excited. I've had the impression for a while now that Scientology just has too much money and power (read: money) for this sort of thing to happen. I will definitely be watching.
  • @A.Ron.Hubbard The thing about that is I'm not sure how far that's entail as I consider a great many faith based institutions cults, whereas others just label them as religions. For example, I have family that are Jehovah's Witnesses and I have family that are followers of a Baptist Church. Suffice to say I find little that distinguishes one from Cult and Religion except that one is more accepted in society than the other.
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Yeah, I see your point. I am of course an atheist, but I don't mind people of faith that are tolerant of other's life choices and find joy and peace in their religion. Hell, I even don't mind talking to them so long as they aren't dicks about trying to convert me. I usually know more about the bible than they do and a good time is had by all. I feel like cults are pretty easy to spot. I personally like the BITE system of cult identification. You can read about it more here: https://freedomofmind.com/Info/BITE/bitemodel.php

    Using that, it's pretty easy to tell the difference between say, strict fundamentalist Baptists, and a JW. But there is also some overlaps. Extremely liberal JWs might appear to be less cultish than very conservative fundamentalist Baptists, for example, but in the end, the liberal Witnesses don't exactly control their own lives. If they cross the wrong lines of behavior, they get excommunicated, and that ex-communication will literally travel the globe with them, it can't be escaped.

    That's what I guess I'd like you to take away. It's rare (I'd say impossible) to find a person that doesn't hold some wacky, irrational beliefs. Most (again, if not all) religious creeds have wacky, irrational beliefs. Cults have wacky, irrational beliefs that can harm and even kill their members and elaborate control systems to keep their members in line and making escape from those systems very difficult to the point that the average person might find it impossible to leave.
  • FlukesFlukes Calgary, Canada
    I grew up in a church that would be considered at least relatively main stream when compared to JW (although they do have a strong presence here in Canada).

    I have to admit most of the church goers I've interacted with some becoming an atheist have been really nice people. Especially the ones who have come to my door. They have invited me to their church, accepted my declination and reason, and politely let me know the invitation stands. Really pleasant.
  • Gan said:

    I don't think I've heard about a Lois Theroux one. But the more light cast, the better, I say.

    Really hope that HBO have enough money to not get sued into oblivion. There's some interesting articles concerning Scientology that I'm not sure if I'm allowed to link to on this forum such as Operation Snow White, and Operation Freakout, and even a few deaths.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/hbo-announces-scientology-documentary-hires-160-lawyers-9884869.html

    It looks like they're preparing for the dam to break on legal challenges
  • chriskchrisk Indianapolis
    I think it's two things with Scientology that bug me. 1) Protected, privileged information. Time and money are required to "advance" and learn. I'm a lapsed Catholic and have my issues with them but at least they'll tell you everything up front. Which isn't to say they don't hide things but the belief system and what they purport to stand for are common knowledge given to all who want it. 2) Estrangement from non-believers. I think there is some unspoken, subtle estrangement in more traditional religions, but it seems like it's more self-inflicted. There are numerous stories of Scientology basically telling people straight up to cut ties with anyone who vocally challenges their belief system.

    The wacky Thetan, outer space stuff - no big deal.
  • Gan said:

    I don't think I've heard about a Lois Theroux one. But the more light cast, the better, I say.

    Really hope that HBO have enough money to not get sued into oblivion. There's some interesting articles concerning Scientology that I'm not sure if I'm allowed to link to on this forum such as Operation Snow White, and Operation Freakout, and even a few deaths.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/hbo-announces-scientology-documentary-hires-160-lawyers-9884869.html

    It looks like they're preparing for the dam to break on legal challenges
    Yeah but consider all the lawyers that scientologists have, also there's articles about how they infiltrated the government to steal information about them, so... that's true then HBO are going to have a tough time. It's also no secret that scientologists LOVE to harass anyone who speaks against them.
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    edited November 2014
    So apparently I didn't imagine Louis Theroux working on one as well - he just referenced the story of the 160 lawyers on Twitter, saying "Uh oh, we only have two."
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