Here we go: HBO is readying a film adaptation of Lawrence Wright's deep-dive on the Church of Scientology, Going Clear, for a 2015 debut. Per the Hollywood Reporter, famed documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney is attached to direct.
The network is eyeing a Sundance debut for the film, which HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins told THR has been screened by "probably 160 lawyers" in an apparent abundance of caution and in anticipation for a lawsuit. Or more protests. From THR:
This is not the first time HBO has tussled with the Church of Scientology. When the network aired the 1998 documentary Dead Blue: Surviving Depression, throngs of protesters converged in front of HBO's midtown Manhattan headquarters, lambasting Nevins and the company for presenting antidepressant drugs in a positive light (Scientologists are opposed to psychiatry).
"I didn't see what [antidepressants] had to do with Scientology until I worked on that film, until I saw these people outside the building," recalls Nevins in an interview. "I thought they must be a union protest. But it was our film they were protesting. They're so anti-psychiatry, anti-medicine and anti-Freud. It was really quite interesting."
Wright's book—published last year following a profile of director Paul Haggis in the New Yorker—was met with an acrimonious response by the Church of Scientology, which published a lengthy takedown of the book upon release.