Scientology Secrets

Texas writer's controversial book on Scientology gets the documentary star treatment

Writer's controversial book on Scientology gets doc star treatment

Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology is expected to protest the film. Wikimedia Commons
Lawrence Wright
Author and Austinite Lawrence Wright. Photo by Daniel Bergeron
Church of Scientology
Lawrence Wright

HBO is eyeing a 2015 release date for its film based on Austinite Lawrence Wright's infamous book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & the Prison of Belief. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney is putting the final touches on the documentary film which should be ready in time for January's Sundance Film Festival. 

Going Clear is an in-depth look at the controversial religion and its deep ties to Hollywood industry elites. The book, which was inspired by Wright's 2011 New Yorker profile on director — and former Scientologist — Paul Haggis, was released to critical acclaim in January 2013. (You can read an interview with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Wright here.)

Like the book, which drew ire from Scientology bigwigs, HBO is expecting a similar backlash to the documentary. "We have probably 160 lawyers [looking at the film]," HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins told THR. Nevins also said the cable channel is bracing for protests in the wake of the film's debut.

Despite the controversy, Wright's book was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award.

Gibney is known for his 2005 documentary, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and the 2007 documentary, Taxi To the Dark Side, which won an Academy Award.