Haggis to Take On Scientology in Upcoming Book: Movie News

1/09/2011 Posted by Admin

Haggis to Take On Scientology in Upcoming Book

Movie News

By our guest blogger, Nick Hanover

According to Gawker, recent Scientology refugee Paul Haggis, an Oscar award-winning director, is teaming up with "New Yorker" staffer Lawrence Wright on a massive Scientology expose to be called "The Heretic of Hollywood: Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology." This will be the first public statement about the church from the director since Haggis left the church after their support of California's Proposition 8 in 2009. Haggis deemed the church's support of Prop 8 "cowardly" in a letter to the church's spokesperson Tommy Davis, claiming his exit was made all the more necessary after Davis failed to follow through on his promise that "heads would roll" over the church's defense of Prop 8. Haggis had been a member of the church for 35 years and his exit letter revealed some particularly awful facts about the church, such as their insistence that members cut off exiled or former members completely and their tendency to blackmail or otherwise intimidate members who spoke out against certain policies.

Gawker obtained a copy of a catalog made by Andrew Wylie, Wright's agent, that reveals some potentially devastating claims from the book. Chief among these accusations is the assertion that the church has forced abortions on some of its workers and that church leader David Miscavige is violent towards members and, according to Haggis, has even gone so far as to basically "enslave" young volunteers. If these accusations can be proven they could be a disaster for the church, which has had many public relations crises in recent years.

As Gawker is quick to point out, though, the church has a reputation for doing anything in its power to undermine or otherwise thwart those who attempt to speak out against it--the Gawker piece specifically recalls the story of Paulette Cooper who the church allegedly attempted to drive to suicide during the writing of "The Scandal of Scientology," her insider's report of the church in the '70s. More recently, the church has been rumored to have played a role in Universal's decision not to back Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," a film that was said to be a fictional interpretation of Scientology's origins though Universal has denied this.

Given Wright's respected background and Haggis' high profile, "The Heretic of Hollywood" could become the most important examination of the church in history. Though it is currently without a publisher, it seems likely that the ailing publishing industry will jump on the chance to put out a book that will inevitably be a best seller, regardless of its subject matter. You can expect more details to emerge concerning this situation soon and it's very likely that the Church of Scientology will have a public statement within the week.

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