Louis Theroux's documentaries have always been cited as some of the most fair and balanced one can hope to see.
What makes his work so engaging and honest is that he tries his damnedest to see his subject's point of view and actively engages with them. It's quite different from the usual, adversarial approach we sometimes see and it's what made has made Louis Theroux one of the most well-known and respected documentary makers of our time.
So, naturally, when we heard he was doing one on Scientology, we were all excited. There's been several illuminating documentaries on the topic, including Alex Gibney's HBO doc Going Clear most recently. Theroux's vision, however, is slightly different. In fact, it's completely different.
In a recent piece, Theroux explained that he took "inspiration from the showbusiness trappings of Scientology itself, using actors and re-enactments to recreate alleged events and church practices on soundstages in Hollywood, guided by the recollections of ex-members, who helped to direct the scenes.
"In part, this was simply a visual way of bringing people’s memories to life. But it soon became clear that the re-enactments would also allow me to question and probe those former Scientologists’ versions of events."
If that sounds similar to 2012's The Act Of Killing, the documentary which focused on Indonesian military officers actively recreating their brutal genocide of Communists with a film crew, you're not wrong. Theroux explains that he set the documentary up as him trying to remake alleged scenes from ex-Scientologists' accounts, complete with an actor cast as Tom Cruise and an entire Scientology 'bootcamp' that was run for the actors cast in the film.
As Theroux describes, the harassment came almost two months into production, complete with the usual amount of Scientologists filming Theroux as he attempts to make his film. There's no exact word yet on when the film will screen in Ireland - or even IF it will screen in Ireland.
My Scientology Movie is currently screening at the London Film Festival until Saturday, October 17th.
Via The Guardian