After 35 years as a devoted follower to wacky fake religion/cult Scientology, director Paul Haggis left in a blaze of glory in 2009. Following the group's inaction after a San Diego branch supported Prop 8, Haggis penned an angry screed that ended up online, denouncing the group for their empty promises in dealing with the situation. And it looks like Haggis isn't quite done taking down his former faith just yet.
The director has teamed with New Yorker staff writer and author Lawrence Wright for what promises to be the juiciest memoir since Keith Richards' "Life." Titled "The Heretic of Hollywood: Paul Haggis vs.The Church of Scientology," the book promises to explore the real deal behind founder L. Ron Hubbard, dig into the more controversial aspects of the group's operations and investigate the shady dealings of current church head David Miscavige (for a bit of taste what is likely in store, check out The St. Petersburg Times' insanely in-depth and fascinating profile of Scientology published last year).
Of course, The Church Of Scientology, probably isn't going to take this one sitting down. The group is known is for relentlessly (and sometimes ruthlessly) going after dissenters and opponents and we're sure they will fight tooth and nail against the forthcoming book. No word yet on when it might hit shelves, but it was recently repped at the Frankfurt Book Fair by Wright's agent so we presume it's well on its way. Here's the synopsis:
The Academy Award winning writer and director, Paul Haggis (Million Dollar Baby, Crash), spent three decades in the Church of Scientology. Haggis was one of the church's Hollywood trophies, along with Tom Cruise and John Travolta, whose paths cross with Haggis's. His resignation from the church in August of 2009 was a crushing disappointment to the organization. This is the first time Haggis has spoken about his experience.
The roots of Scientology are explored in this book, particularly the life of its eccentric founder, L. Ron Hubbard, whose flashes of brilliance and insanity are woven into the fabric of this elaborate belief system. Through Haggis's eyes, we discover the appeal of Scientology, especially to talented and ambitious members of the entertainment industry. Haggis conducted a personal investigation of the church, in which he was told about the wanton physical abuse on the part of its current leader, David Miscavige, of senior members of the organization. He was told that young volunteers in the Scientology clergy, called the Sea Org, are subjected to conditions approaching slavery or imprisonment, and that many female members have been forced to have abortions.
The most profound reckoning to date with this powerful and secretive organization, The Heretic of Hollywood is also a moving human story of the lure of extreme faith and the price of leaving it.