12 items from 2014
HBO is readying a documentary that will take a penetrating look at the Church of Scientology and its influence in Hollywood. Going Clear, based on Lawrence Wright's book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, is expected to air on the network in 2015, according to the Hollywood Reporter, with a premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January if finished in time.
Wright's book features harsh revelations against the controversial religion courtesy of Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis, a longtime and high-ranking Church member who very publicly left Scientology in 2009. Filmmaker Alex Gibney, »
HBO, no stranger to courting controversy with its ever-broadening documentary slate, commissioned Gibney's adaptation of Lawrence Wright's "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief" just after the nonfiction book was published in January 2013. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gibney is now "putting the finishing touches on a film that tackles the Church of Scientology and its Tinseltown tentacles." The book analyzes the history of L. Ron Hubbard, and of Tom Cruise and John Travolta's various, and wildly public, relationships, among others. Wright gained notoriety in 2011 when he profiled screenwriter/director Paul Haggis—who broke from the Church in 2009 in the wake of its startling pronouncements about Prop 8—in The New Yorker. In anticipation of the Church's legal retaliation, HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins told THR that roughly 160 lawyers are looking at the film, which could land at the Sundance Film Festival in »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Scientology has suffered some pretty bad PR in the past few years, and it’s likely to get worse. With everything from abuse scandals to tell-all memoirs from former members, the Church of Scientology has looked increasingly bad. Now we hear that HBO is preparing to air documentary Going Clear by Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side), focusing on Scientology’s powerful grasp on Hollywood.
Going Clear is based on Lawrence Wright’s book of the same name that detailed the history of Scientology, its founder L. Ron Hubbard, and the highly influential and highly suspect organization that has such powerful grounding in Hollywood. Like the book, the film is supposed to contain more revelations, some from formerly high-ranking members of the Church.
- Lauren Humphries-Brooks
Alex Gibney is continuing on his quest to make every denomination mad at him, and after turning his lens on the Catholic church in Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, he’s now examining the teachings of yet another religion, Scientology.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that his latest project is based on Going Clear, a non-fiction book by Lawrence Wright from 2013 in which Wright interviewed near 200 high-ranking Scientologists, documented the life of the church’s founder L. Ron Hubbard and in turn received numerous letters threatening legal action.
So, Gibney shouldn’t worry about ruffling any feathers then, right?
The documentary is in the finishing stages of production along with HBO, who THR notes is eyeing a 2015 debut and a potential run at this year’s Sundance should the film be completed in time.
Gibney of course has been mighty prolific of late, this becoming his 11th »
- Brian Welk
Suri Cruise knows exactly what she wants for Christmas.
During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Katie Holmes revealed that her adorable eight-year-old daughter Suri has a very specific list when it comes to writing Santa.
"She's very organized and I start to, like, get a little bit of a panic because you cannot screw up talking to Santa," Katie told Ellen. "You cannot miss any item on that list because if you screw that up that's years and years of hearing about it. And then probably therapy."
News: Suri Cruise's 10 Best Burn-Book Jabs
And what kinds of things does Suri ask for?
"She’s practical, she's just very specific," Katie said. "'I want a puppy and then I want a pink collar that has sparkles on it that says the puppy’s name. Then I want shoes for the dog.' ... 'Then I want a purple clip.' Like, it's all very »
Having already investigated Lance Armstrong, Enron, Eliot Spitzer, WikiLeaks, and the U.S. military, Alex Gibney is turning his attention to Scientology, the one subject that could get him sued more than he already has been. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gibney is currently working on an adaptation of Lawrence Wright's Going Clear for HBO; the director, whose process has been described as a documentary "factory," hopes to have the project done in time for Sundance in January. HBO says it has hired 160 lawyers in anticipation of a legal challenge, which means that Scientology, if it hopes to stop the film from airing, will have to get at least 161 lawyers. »
- Nate Jones
Oscar winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney ("Taxi to the Dark Side," "Mea Maxima Culpa") is reportedly putting the finishing touches on "Going Clear," a film that tackles the Church of Scientology and its influence on Hollywood.
Based on Lawrence Wright's controversial book, HBO commissioned the Scientology project two years ago, before the book's publication. The film is expected to feature new revelations about the controversial religion and its famous followers.
The plan is to release the project theatrically next year, with the doco likely to be submitted for the Sundance Film Festival in January.
Source: The Live Feed »
- Garth Franklin
Each week, Deadline’s Hot Reads presents what Hollywood’s power players are reading now and what they think is special about each book.
This week, film producer and Blumhouse Productions CEO Jason Blum shares what he’s been reading as his latest film, Ouija, holds its spell over the Halloween weekend. The PG-13 horror feature is Blumhouse’s seventh micro-budget film to hit No. 1 – but Blum also has his first micro-budget drama, the Miles Teller-J.K. Simmons jazz two-hander Whiplash, an intense drama garnering strong critical and festival acclaim that has spawned Oscar hopes.
“I find that the books that I read not for work inform what I do and the decisions that I make in my business,” he said. “But people generally don’t like to adapt – especially successful people. They get onto something and they stick with it. It’s important no matter how successful you »
- Jen Yamato
Actor Khaled Nabawy’s starring turn in the 1994 film “The Emigrant,” the Egyptian equivalent of the biblical tale of Joseph, from auteur Youssef Chahine, put Nabawy on a larger stage, and has made him one of Egypt’s best-known actors, landing him roles in Hollywood pics such as Ridley Scott’s “Kingdom of Heaven” (2005) and Doug Liman’s “Fair Game” (2010).
Playing For Peace
The 47-year-old Nabawy looks nothing like the nation’s late president, Anwar Sadat, but that didn’t stop him from drawing glowing reviews earlier this year for “Camp David,” at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., opposite Richard Thomas and Ron Rifkin. Nabawy says he was surprised he was chosen for the role, but welcomed the challenge “Everyone has his own secret” of getting into character, he says. “I believe in studying — and listening.”
Writing in the Washington Post in April, Peter Marks »
- Andrea Seikaly
Here's the latest Austin film news.
Austin will be the setting of two upcoming TV series. Kut reports that HBO is developing God Save Texas, about a freshman Texas legislator wooed by energy lobbyists. Writer/co-producer Lawrence Wright is basing the show on his play Sonny's Last Shot. No word yet on whether it will actually be shot in Austin. And per Austin Business Journal, Amazon is producing Hysteria, a series starring Mena Suvari as a psychiatrist at The University of Texas at Austin who's investigating a teen epidemic related to the title. This series might actually shoot locally, considering a recent casting call.Local screenwriter/author/former film critic C. Robert Cargill has his next project lined up: He's co-scripting The Outer Limits with Scott Derrickson, who co-wrote the horror feature Sinister with him too. The movie will be based primarily on an episode of the 1960s anthology show »
- Jette Kernion
Exclusive: HBO has put in development God Save Texas, a drama series project written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright (The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda And The Road To 9/11) and executive produced by X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner. It centers on an idealistic cowboy who, looking to save his ranch and marriage, tries to get elected to the Texas Legislature, where he becomes the target of the powerful energy lobby and learns how to survive in the crazy, brutal world of Texas politics. Wright, a native Texan and longtime observer of the political scene in Austin, is also a playwright. God Save Texas is based on his 2005 play Sonny’s Last Shot. Tony-winning veteran theater producer Margo Lion (Hairspray), who is working with Shuler Donner on adapting the Shuler Donner-produced feature The Secret Life Of Bees as a Broadway musical, gave her a copy of the play. Both felt Sonny’s »
- NELLIE ANDREEVA
Tom Cruise is a troublesome individual in real life. After reading Lawrence Wright's "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief," I could say more, but anything personally provocative would be contradicting the more important point of this piece: he's a great actor, and he's wasting his time. First, let's all agree the veteran thespian ascended past movie stardom to the legions of excellence with his performances listed below (in the easy-access language of today, a list). He is a not a good actor, but a great actor. As outlined in the superb piece by La Weekly's Chief Film Critic Amy Nicholson in last week's #LongForms article, Cruise was destined for further greatness before the internet wrapped him in scandal and cast him as a box office failure, though he clearly wasn't (look no further than "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" or "War of the Worlds" for proof). Yet poor, »
- Ben Travers
12 items from 2014
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