Scientology may not have the stranglehold on Hollywood that it did a decade ago, but HBO and documentarian Alex Gibney could still make some powerful enemies with their new documentary. Unlike The Master, which director Paul Thomas Anderson admitted was inspired by L. Ron Hubbard but carefully avoided saying was about Scientology per se (even though it totally was), Going Clear will take on the Church Of Scientology directly with what The Hollywood Reporter calls “new revelations about the controversial religion and its famous followers Tom Cruise and John Travolta.” (The film is based on Lawrence Wright’s 2013 book of the same name, subtitled Scientology, Hollywood, And The Prison Of Belief, which should give you some idea of what we’re working with here.)
Naturally, HBO is expecting some pushback. HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins says that she has “probably 160 lawyers [looking at the film]” in anticipation of “aggressive” action from the notoriously litigious Church. But the network is standing by Gibney, who has previously taken on the Catholic Church, Enron, and the War On Terror in his work. HBO is expected to air Going Clear sometime in 2015.