On January 17, 2013, Pulitzer Prize winning author Lawrence Wright published a 448 page tell-all book about the inner workings of the religion of Scientology titled, “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.” The book contained several interviews with higher ups in the organization and in writing the book, 200 former and current Scientologists were interviewed. Their facts along with Wright’s research created quite the controversy. Allegations of physical and mental abuse were lobbed at the church, as well as famous Scientologists like John Travolta and Tom Cruise. The controversy stirred by the novel caused some publishing companies to opt out of releasing the novel for fear of retaliation from the church.
Now, even with the controversial subject matter, HBO and Oscar winning director Alex Gibney (“Taxi to the Dark Side,” “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”) have teamed up to release a documentary based on Wright’s novel. HBO claims that the film will “feature new revelations about the controversial religion and its famous followers Tom Cruise and John Travolta.”
The documentary is scheduled to make air in 2015. When asked about the possible legal repercussions that could follow in the wake of the film, due to the church of Scientology’s common practice of suing organizations and people who speak ill of them, HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins said “We have probably 160 lawyers looking at the film.”