HBO will release a new documentary next year that will take on the Church of Scientology, reported The Hollywood Reporter. The film has been described as a “bombshell” and is likely to cause waves.
The documentary is an adaptation of the book “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief” written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright. According to reports, the film will illustrate “new revelations” about the church and its celebrity following. The film, which is slated to premier at the Sundance Film Festival in January, is expected to draw the ire of the Church of Scientology, an extremely litigious group.
“We probably have 160 lawyers [looking at the film],” said Sheila Nevins, HBO Documentary Films president.
Despite the expectation that the film will be accurate and fact-based, HBO expects the church to attack the network with some kind of suit or suits. The book, on which the film is based, received staunch pushback from the church as it was based off of a 2011 profile of Paul Haggis, filmmaker and former Scientologist.
In the profile, Haggis berated the church’s teaching and behavior towards members. After Wright had the book published in 2013, the church released a harshly-worded statement in regards to the book.
“The one thing clear about Lawrence Wright’s book is that he continues to carry water for a handful of angry, bitter individuals led by a pathological liar still consumed with vengeance a decade after being removed for malfeasance,” said Karin Pouw, church spokesperson. “Mr. Wright produced a work of fiction that does little more than regurgitate six decades of false, bizarre tabloid allegations about the religion’s Founder, its leadership and its prominent members.”
Actually, the “one thing clear” about this entire situation is that this documentary, which will shed light onto the secretive society of the Church of Scientology, will be a good bit of fun. HBO has a successful history of shaking things up. What better topic to shake up than the Church of Scientology?