First look at Louis Theroux’s BBC film on Scientology: ‘Stairway to Heaven’

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First look at Louis Theroux’s BBC film on Scientology: ‘Stairway to Heaven’

Tony Ortega: First look at Louis Theroux’s BBC film on Scientology: ‘Stairway to Heaven’
http://tonyortega.org/2015/01/02/fi...s-bbc-film-on-scientology-stairway-to-heaven/

Louis_Theroux_Stairway-e1420165075897.jpg


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Here’s what the fine print says…

Louis Theroux’s first theatrical feature documentary from the Oscar winning producer of Searching for Sugar Man and Man on Wire

One of the world’s newest and most mysterious religions, that numbers Tom Cruise among its followers… A scientific-seeming “technology” which, if properly followed, is said to make the able more able… A step-by-step path to spiritual freedom and personal growth, and just possibly super powers…

On the face of it, who wouldn’t be intrigued — even seduced — by this grand rhetoric?

For more than 10 years, Louis Theroux has been in the grip of a personal fascination with Scientology. Now, living in Los Angeles in the heart of the world’s largest population of Scientologists, he has decided to immerse himself in what he regards as “the Holy Grail of Stories.”

WRITERS John Dower, Louis Theroux
PRESENTER Louis Theroux
DIRECTOR John Dower
PRODUCER Simon Chinn
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS Christine Langan, Joe Oppenheimer, Charlotte Moore, Mark Reynolds

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oneonewasaracecar

Gold Meritorious Patron
This will be epic. Louis Theroux is brilliant and sharp and incisive. Scientology is not.

This documentary will be like watching someone shoot fish in a barrel from a gilded bejeweled 17th century Spanish firearm.

Not very sporting, but very British and very amusing.

Fuck you OSA.
 
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Having seen his programs before, I'm sure he's going to leave some eggs on some faces. I doubt that he has had much contact with COS scientologists, although who knows? he may have been a bit undercover before we heard that he was making his movie. There may be an indie or two or three that he schmoozled into making scientology and/or themselves look silly. I hope he doesn't leave exes in that position.
 

Type4_PTS

Diamond Invictus SP
Seems that Louis has interviewed reps from NOI (Nation of Islam) in a previous documentary. I've not watched this but posting it here in case anyone interested:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jN4gFhDST-w

Louis Theroux Visits Black Nationalists Within The United States Khalid Muhammad, Nation of Islam, Al Sharpton ( the old fat Al ) , And The Hebrew Israelites.



I found a 90 second clip from what looks like the same documentary...

[video=youtube;P6NmhcePit8]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6NmhcePit8[/video]
 

Boomima

Patron with Honors
If you haven't watched his documentaries about the Westboro Baptist Church, you should. The language the church members use is vile, as a warning. Shirley Phelps is a piece of work.
[video=youtube;3pxE6_VY8aM]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pxE6_VY8aM[/video]

The follow up is sad because the children who left describe the disconnection from their family.

[video=youtube;W4wXjAZ-BIE]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4wXjAZ-BIE[/video]
 
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From Comm ICs Op from Ortega from The BBC people.

"On the face of it, who wouldn’t be intrigued — even seduced — by this grand rhetoric?"

Very lovely.
 

Smurf

Gold Meritorious SP
Louis' comical side was seen when he did a BBC documentary on the Los Angeles porn industry (gay & straight) in 1997. In addition to playing the role of an aspiring porn actor by having a Polaroid taken of him full-frontal nude, he appeared in a non-sexual role in a gay porn video (supposedly, he was offered a sexual role, but he declined, knowing the BBC would not approve).

In one hilarious scene filmed inside a porn modeling agency, he's introduced to a nerd with glasses that is supposed to be a successful porn actor. Louis asks to see his dick. The guy refuses & Louis argues with the guy why he can't see the man's dick. :biggrin:

[video=youtube;9hiq2Nssg3o]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hiq2Nssg3o[/video]

[video=youtube;-NOj4XUk1_Y]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NOj4XUk1_Y[/video]
 

prosecco

Patron Meritorious
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Having seen his programs before, I'm sure he's going to leave some eggs on some faces. I doubt that he has had much contact with COS scientologists, although who knows? he may have been a bit undercover before we heard that he was making his movie. There may be an indie or two or three that he schmoozled into making scientology and/or themselves look silly. I hope he doesn't leave exes in that position.

Suppose what I don't understand about this movie is who will go to see it? I think there is some interest in scientology, the same way one will glance at National enquirer or some supermarket rag, but it's quite another thing to go and pay money to see this as a feature length movie. I'd be interested to see the movie as an ex scn, but wouldn't actually go and see it, if that makes sense.

I agree with the point about him probably not making much contact with the C of S and that he doesn't embarrass ex'es who helped him. His record though points to him subtly laughing at people. Hope I'm wrong.
 

ThetanExterior

Gold Meritorious Patron
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Having seen his programs before, I'm sure he's going to leave some eggs on some faces. I doubt that he has had much contact with COS scientologists, although who knows? he may have been a bit undercover before we heard that he was making his movie. There may be an indie or two or three that he schmoozled into making scientology and/or themselves look silly. I hope he doesn't leave exes in that position.

Well, Karen de la Carriere has posted several pictures of Louis at her house. He seems to pop round regularly because apparently he's a neighbour of hers. And I'm sure she will have mentioned the CofS to him.:yes:
 
Suppose what I don't understand about this movie is who will go to see it? I think there is some interest in scientology, the same way one will glance at National enquirer or some supermarket rag, but it's quite another thing to go and pay money to see this as a feature length movie. I'd be interested to see the movie as an ex scn, but wouldn't actually go and see it, if that makes sense.

I agree with the point about him probably not making much contact with the C of S and that he doesn't embarrass ex'es who helped him. His record though points to him subtly laughing at people. Hope I'm wrong.

I have a suspicion that scientology is now something everyone is happy to hear a bit more about if someone dishes it up in a sound-byte satisfying way. Many others want more than mere sound bytes too of course. Isn't it wonderful that our youthful yearning and postulating for scientology to be interesting enough to get this mass attention is now happening. We postulated and postulated for everyone to know about scientology. Now they will. I feel lighter and my space has expanded, and since exteriorization is in the air again currently, I am exterior too. I want to attest. I want to go to the examiner. I want to write a success story. :) :):):)
 

AnonyMary

Formerly Fooled - Finally Free
I just finished watching most of the 3 videos posted here. What terrific work he and the BBC have done on these 2 subjects. I must say that Louis is as much an interviewer as he is a character like no other! His efforts to engage his interviewees is both humbling and endearing in a special sort of way. The small bit of geek in him really seems to make a difference with some of these interviews and commentary :)

I also doubt he was able to interview and Scientology officials and if he did, it could not be for any length of time. It's fun to imagine him given access to the inner workings of organized Scientology but we know the church just won't allow that anymore. Having seen the other 2 documentaries I do believe this documentary on the cult will be entertaining and informative in whatever he was able to accomplish with the resources available to him.

One question, though. Does anyone actually know what this means:

Louis Theroux’s first theatrical feature documentary from the Oscar winning producer of Searching for Sugar Man and Man on Wire

If it's his first, then it will be a different type of production than all the others.But how will it be theatrical? And does the description mean that it will be a full feature 2 hr long documentary?
 

prosecco

Patron Meritorious
I just finished watching most of the 3 videos posted here. What terrific work he and the BBC have done on these 2 subjects. I must say that Louis is as much an interviewer as he is a character like no other! His efforts to engage his interviewees is both humbling and endearing in a special sort of way. The small bit of geek in him really seems to make a difference with some of these interviews and commentary :)

I also doubt he was able to interview and Scientology officials and if he did, it could not be for any length of time. It's fun to imagine him given access to the inner workings of organized Scientology but we know the church just won't allow that anymore. Having seen the other 2 documentaries I do believe this documentary on the cult will be entertaining and informative in whatever he was able to accomplish with the resources available to him.

One question, though. Does anyone actually know what this means:

Louis Theroux’s first theatrical feature documentary from the Oscar winning producer of Searching for Sugar Man and Man on Wire

If it's his first, then it will be a different type of production than all the others.But how will it be theatrical? And does the description mean that it will be a full feature 2 hr long documentary?

I understood the, 'theatrical feature documentary' to mean that it's a documentary viewed in the theatre, rather than on TV.
 

Boomima

Patron with Honors
Suppose what I don't understand about this movie is who will go to see it? I think there is some interest in scientology, the same way one will glance at National enquirer or some supermarket rag, but it's quite another thing to go and pay money to see this as a feature length movie. I'd be interested to see the movie as an ex scn, but wouldn't actually go and see it, if that makes sense.

I agree with the point about him probably not making much contact with the C of S and that he doesn't embarrass ex'es who helped him. His record though points to him subtly laughing at people. Hope I'm wrong.

He is remarkably compassionate and makes a huge effort to understand the people in his documentaries, regardless of who they are. Given that his subjects have included American neo-Nazis and pedophiles, I would not worry about him mocking ex-Scientologists.
 

Type4_PTS

Diamond Invictus SP
I understood the, 'theatrical feature documentary' to mean that it's a documentary viewed in the theatre, rather than on TV.

Yeah, it's intended for theatre release, or at least that was the original intent:

More than two years ago, we first heard from producer Simon Chinn, who told us he wanted to make a full-length feature film for theater release. He put the project on the shelf for a while (and won an Oscar in the meantime), but then got things going again this year by hiring a director — the excellent John Dower — and, to star in the film, BBC broadcaster Louis Theroux. In the months since, Karen de la Carriere has posted numerous photographs of Theroux as he has come over to interview her at her Los Feliz home (turns out he’s a neighbor).

http://tonyortega.org/2014/11/24/hb...ull-length-films-about-scientology-out-first/
 

prosecco

Patron Meritorious
Yeah, it's intended for theatre release, or at least that was the original intent:

It's badly worded though, as am half expecting a camp performance along the lines of Mel Brooks, The Producers where the production idea was to make money from the investors by making a hideous musical that would bomb at the box office, including such highlights as, 'Springtime for Hitler..'

Would have better to state: 'Feature length documentary, Theatre Release....'
 

Smurf

Gold Meritorious SP
Having seen his programs before, I'm sure he's going to leave some eggs on some faces. I doubt that he has had much contact with COS scientologists, although who knows? he may have been a bit undercover before we heard that he was making his movie. There may be an indie or two or three that he schmoozled into making scientology and/or themselves look silly. I hope he doesn't leave exes in that position.

I've watched a number of Louis' videos & he tries to be very objective in his reporting. He's never tried to sandbag people. As far as interviewing COS members, I doubt he was permitted to. Several documentarians of late, including Markus Theoss, sought interviews & they were resoundingly rebuffed.

Louis wants to reach audiences around the world & is not making a documentary solely for the benefit of those of us that live in the Scientology bubble of members & ex-members.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-e...gemental-scientology-documentary-9120511.html

https://www.facebook.com/LouisTheroux
 
I've watched a number of Louis' videos & he tries to be very objective in his reporting. He's never tried to sandbag people. As far as interviewing COS members, I doubt he was permitted to. Several documentarians of late, including Markus Theoss, sought interviews & they were resoundingly rebuffed.

Louis wants to reach audiences around the world & is not making a documentary solely for the benefit of those of us that live in the Scientology bubble of members & ex-members.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-e...gemental-scientology-documentary-9120511.html

https://www.facebook.com/LouisTheroux

I don't think he will try to sandbag exes. Does ever sandbag people?
I have seen people on his shows come across as harmless/naive but involved in something a bit 'flakey'. The "flakey" element was really what added the interest to keep me watching. Did he sandbag those people? Perhaps he just 'let them speak for themselves' and the television audience got to see some basically goodhearted people who were into a flakey/ever so slightly eccentric religion, as Louis's team of cameramen and planners, editors filmed it all and put it up on the tV.

I have seen a show of his where a person ran a far more cultish operation and the person came across far less goodhearted and less so as the show continued. Did Louis sandbag the guy? If so the guy sure seemed to deserve it , because he was a conman IMO. Louis just asked his very simple, very naive natural questions and let the guy and his assistant speak for themselves -or look uncomfortable about a simple honest question and NOT answer it. His doco will presumably be different in some ways from his half hour programs. I would not agree to be in a Louis half hour show. I would not want to be set up to play opposite Mr Whimsical Loius :biggrin:
I am very curious about how he'll approach things in the full length format and I think it will be positive for anti-scios.
 

Smurf

Gold Meritorious SP
One question, though. Does anyone actually know what this means:

Louis Theroux’s first theatrical feature documentary from the Oscar winning producer of Searching for Sugar Man and Man on Wire

If it's his first, then it will be a different type of production than all the others.But how will it be theatrical? And does the description mean that it will be a full feature 2 hr long documentary?

It's being produced by Red Box Films founded by Simon Chinn, one of 3 producers of 'Searching for Sugar Man', for small theatre release (i.e., film festivals). It is not going to be a feature film.

From Simon Chinn.. LOUIS THEROUX & THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

I recently started work in Los Angeles on a theatrical feature documentary for BBC Films, produced by double Oscar-winner Simon Chinn. Directed by John Dower, the film is fronted and co-written by Louis Theroux on the subject of Scientology. Louis has wanted to make a film about Scientology for many years; finally it is happening and on a much broader canvas than his television programmes. When the project was first mentioned to me in August last year, I was of course interested (who wouldn’t be?) but I did wonder how on earth you would go about tackling such a difficult, thorny and in some respects well-worn subject. Now I can say, having completed the first block of shooting (with some notable Theroux moments), not only is it possible but it also has the potential to result in a great film.

Due to the nature of the subject matter I am not going to post stills or writing on the filming process but, from the camera dept's point of view, the main challenge for me is to shoot the film in such a way that does justice to the big screen, whilst also giving Louis the freewheeling space he needs to do his thing. As so often the case on single docs, the development of the style is something of an organic process but we are making significant use of car mounts and very much using LA as a character in itself.

Given that access to the Church of Scientology is out of the question, John & Louis have devised an interesting approach to shedding light on this most secretive of organisations. Louis is also keen to take a neutral approach; much has been made of the negative experiences of those who have left but he is equally interested in what attracted them in the first place. Scientology is not a black & white subject; it is an extremely complex story - with no access! However I am confident in the film makers and, whatever the outcome, it’s going to be an interesting ride…

Tech specs: Sony F55, Angenieux Optimos 15-40mm, 28-76mm / Zeiss CP.2 135mm / 24fps / 1.185:1 / 2K

https://www.tumblr.com/search/simon+chinn

http://redboxfilms.co.uk/about
 

Francois Tremblay

Patron with Honors
Searching for Sugar Man was actually a movie, released on DVD. It's one of the most gripping documentaries I've ever seen. Really amazing stuff! I quite look foward to his work on Scientology. One thing's for sure, he knows how to pick his subjects!
 
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