L. Ron Hubbard Movie to be Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson the Master

Paul Thomas Anderson is working on a film, working title The Master to star Philip Seymour Hoffman as a L. Ron Hubbard analogue:

Let’s look at what we know about the P.T. Anderson project. It centers around a man (Philip Seymour Hoffman, the only name currently attached to the film) who starts a faith-based organization that becomes popular in 1952 America — exactly the year L. Rob Hubbard expanded his Dianetics self-help system and established the Church of Scientology. The film explores “The Master’s” relationship with a young drifter named Freddie who joins the fold and becomes his Number 2 officer, only to later question both the faith and its figurehead in later years — something plenty of high and low ranking Scientologists alike have done over the years, many publicly denouncing the organization on their way out. The Master employs interrogation-style psychotherapy procedures not unlike the “audit” process basic to Scientology, and spends time living in seclusion with his inner circle on a ship, which Hubbard himself did in the 1960s. […] More recently, trade paper Production Weekly reported that Reese Witherspoon had been offered a role in The Master; The Wrap’s Deal Central speculated she would play Mary Sue, the young, pregnant wife of Hoffman’s character. Mary Sue Whipp, of course, was the name of Hubbard’s much younger third wife who became involved in Dianetics in the 1950s and helped him run his Scientology empire. The role of The Master’s daughter is also being cast, with Amanda Seyfried, Emma Stone, and Deborah Ann Woll rumored to be in the running. Also linked to the project is Jeremy Renner, who had been up for the role of Freddie, though his involvement is as yet unconfirmed.

Film.com: Will Scientologists Declare War on Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master?

Playlists’s comparisons between the movie and Hubbard’s life

Universal passed on the film, reportedly balking at the $35 million budget, but of course there’s rampant speculation that the budget wasn’t the only reason. The Wrap reports that River Road picked up the film instead.

(via VBS)

Scientologist accused of murdering business partner

scientology ruins lives

Adams County District Attorney Don Quick filed charges against William Rex Fowler in the shooting death of 42-year-old Thomas Ciancio, his former business partner at Fowler Software Design.

Investigators say Fowler shot Ciancio three times in the head with a 9mm Glock handgun when Ciancio came to Fowler Software Design to collect $9,900 in severance pay. […]

Employees of the software company told investigators Ciancio had blamed Fowler for the company’s recent financial difficulties.

The employees said Fowler had taken about $200,000 of the company’s money without asking and gave it to a church or charity, according to the arrest affidavit. […]

Investigators say the gun was registered to Andrew Hyung Fowler, 26, who lived at 1413 L. Ron Hubbard Way in Los Angeles when it was purchased. In interviews with police, Andrew Fowler said he gave the gun to his father for Christmas in 2007.

Police also found a briefcase and a typed note, dated Dec. 30 and signed by Fowler. The note said nothing confidential was in the satchel and that it should be given to his wife, Janet.

When Janet Fowler was interviewed by detectives, she demanded the briefcase.

“It is important to me and my church. It is religious material and I want it now,” she said to investigators. “Even if you looked at it, and read it, you would not understand anything in it. Because it is way above a normal person and you would not know what it meant. I want it back right now.”

Janet Fowler also reportedly told investigators that her husband “is a Scientologist and would not have gone without a fight. He would have grabbed a gun in a struggle and would not have let someone shoot him.”

Denver Post: Adams County software-firm owner charged in killing of ex-business partner

(via Religion News)

I have to admit it feels a little tabloidy to be blogging this, but I can’t help it.

Jack Parsons stage play opening at Caltech

Pasadena Babalon is a new stage play dealing with the life of rocket pioneer Jack Parsons, co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Aerojet General Corporation.

Theater Arts at Caltech (TACIT) director Brian Brophy (Shawshank Redemption, Day Without a Mexican, Star Trek: The Next Generation) will direct the play penned by George Morgan, author of last year’s well-received Rocket Girl.

Babalon takes the audience on a journey through mid-1930s Pasadena up until Jack’s untimely death in 1952. Surrounded by a gallery of characters from Aleister Crowley, L.Ron Hubbard, Theordore Von Karman, and many others, the play examines the nature of genius with its unintended consequences, black magic, military contracts, and the formation of JPL.

TACIT casts feature Caltech undergraduates, graduate students, staff members, and JPL engineers.

Caltech: Pasadena Babalon

(via Joseph Matheny)

Restoration of lost Scientology materials complete

More than 1,000 unreleased recordings of lectures by L. Ron Hubbard and reams of corresponding writings have been unveiled in the culmination of a 25-year project to locate, restore and transcribe lost pieces of the Scientology founder’s work.

Though sure to be derided by the church’s many critics, its followers say the materials amount to an opportunity to deepen understanding of the religion and to release the last known unpublished Hubbard works dealing with Scientology and Dianetics.

“It would be like discovering that Buddha, unbeknownst to anybody, had sat down and wrote down the entirety of his discoveries and it could be verified that he wrote it,” said Tommy Davis, the church’s top spokesman.

SF Gate: Restoration of lost Scientology materials complete

(via Religion News)

Three of Scientology’s elite parishioners keep faith, but leave the church

They advanced to the Church of Scientology’s highest spiritual level, to “Operating Thetan VIII,” a vaunted realm said to endow extraordinary powers of perception and force of will.

But Geir Isene of Norway and Americans Mary Jo Leavitt and Sherry Katz recently announced they were leaving the church, citing strong disagreements with its management practices.

Isene left first, a decision that emboldened Leavitt, who inspired Katz. Such departures are rare among the church’s elite group of OT VIIIs, who are held up as role models in Scientology. The three each told the St. Petersburg Times that they had spent decades and hundreds of thousands of dollars to reach the church’s spiritual pinnacle.

All three stressed their ongoing belief in Scientology and say they remain grateful for how it helped them. Yet they took to the Internet — an act strongly discouraged by church leaders, who decry public airing of problems — to share their reasons for leaving. They said they hoped it would resonate within the Scientology community.

St. Petersburg Times: Three of Scientology’s elite parishioners keep faith, but leave the church

(via Religion News)

Man sues Church of Scientology for enslaving him as a child

A man claims the Church of Scientology forced him to work as a “virtual slave” for 16 years at jobs ranging from washing pots and pans to restoring old films produced by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. John Lindstein says he was kept “busy, poor, tired, and uninformed” by Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige at the church’s ranch in Hemet, and feared that “things would get even worse if he did not work as ordered.”

Lindstein’s Superior Court complaint alleges human trafficking and violations of hour and wage laws at the church’s “Gold Ranch” compound near Hemet, a semirural area east-southeast of Los Angeles.

Lindstein says that from 1990 until 2006, starting when he was just 8 years old, he “performed this work as a virtual slave, working 16 to 24 hours days with no sleep, no time off and no personal freedom” at Gold Base, a mysterious and once-secret headquarters that “resembles a prison camp,” with razor wire, security guard patrols, surveillance posts and three roll calls each day.

Courthouse News Service

Onion: Scientology Losing Ground To New Fictionology

Fictionology’s central belief, that any imaginary construct can be incorporated into the church’s ever-growing set of official doctrines, continues to gain popularity. Believers in Santa Claus, his elves, or the Tooth Fairy are permitted—even encouraged—to view them as deities. Even corporate mascots like the Kool-Aid Man are valid objects of Fictionological worship.

“My personal savior is Batman,” said Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Greg Jurgenson. “My wife chooses to follow the teachings of the Gilmore Girls. Of course, we are still beginners. Some advanced-level Fictionologists have total knowledge of every lifetime they have ever lived for the last 80 trillion years.”

“Sure, it’s total bullshit,” Jurgenson added. “But that’s Fictionology. Praise Batman!” […]

“Scientology can only offer data, such as how an Operating Thetan can control matter, energy, space, and time with pure thought alone,” McSavage said. “But truly spiritual people don’t care about data, especially those seeking an escape from very real physical, mental, or emotional problems.”

McSavage added, “As a Fictionologist, I live in a world of pretend. It’s liberating.”

The Onion: Scientology Losing Ground To New Fictionology

(Thanks Bill!)

Sounds like chaos magic to me 😉

French Scientology guilty of fraud

The French branch of the Church of Scientology has been fined $900,000 for defrauding vulnerable followers, a Paris court has ruled.

But the group, which is officially considered a sect in France, was not banned from operating in the country.

The group’s lawyer said they would appeal against Tuesday’s verdict.

The court convicted six group leaders, the Scientology’s Celebrity Centre, and its bookshop of organised fraud for preying financially on followers in the 1990s.

Al Jazeera: French Scientology guilty of fraud

(Thanks Dad!)

A Former Scientologist Marketing Guru Turns Against the Church

Hawkins’ ads featured simple questions like, “Why are you unhappy?” in white print against a black background, backed by edgy music supplied by Hawkins’ friends, and finally, a shot of the Dianetics book splashed against a volcano. The ads cost around $2,000 to make, yet within months of their first nationwide appearance, Dianetics made the New York Times Best Seller List for the first time since its initial publication in 1950″‘and a special commemorative edition of the book was printed to mark the occasion.

Hawkins estimates he made more than $200 million for the church in his 35 years of marketing Dianetics. Nevertheless, he ultimately paid for his success by being thrown out of the church in 2005. Now living in Portland, Hawkins is writing a book about his experiences in Scientology.

And boy, is he pissed….

Full Story: Portland Mercury

Craig Baldwin talks about his new film Mock Up On Mu

Craig Baldwin, director of Tribulation 99 and Spectres of the Spectrum, is screening a new movie about Jack Parson, L. Ron Hubbard, Margaret Cameron and Aleister Crowley called Mock Up ON Mu.

SF360: Back in the ’60s, dimwit journalists would ask McCartney and Lennon what they wrote first, the music or the lyrics. In your case, do you write a script and find the footage to illustrate it or do you have chunks of footage you love and invent a narrative to fit them?

Baldwin: The question is always asked after every one of my films. It’s a process. If I just dive into my archive, I wouldn’t get out of my archive. There has to be kind of a map, a direction. The script was not written when I shot the [original] material. I found the story of Jack Parsons, as a myth, as a schematic, as a way forward. These subject areas/ or themes would be included: the occult, the aerospace-rocket stuff, mind control, all this brain stuff that’s obviously a parody of Scientology, desert landscapes, military-industrial, the moon/outer space. Without a script, even though I knew the story, you can go out into the desert and shoot people looking into the meteor crater. It’s mythic, adds scale, is cinematic. So the two come toward each other”‘the accumulated ideas you have and the accumulated materials you have. I probably should have been a little more in control of my material. The best model for me was the underground film”‘this is a term you hardly hear anymore”‘you go out with people who may or may not be paid actors and you just generate ideas in a great location. I did that with Spectres too. Went down to the Salton Sea and got some good shots. It’s not a realistic movie, it’s a series of ghostly gestures. It’s all shot without sound, and you add the voices later. It is this idea of a personal commitment and a personal engagement with the project. Would I be a painter if I didn’t like to paint? That’s preposterous. There’s a certain amount of that in filmmaking, Filmmaking is absolute masochism, just so you know. Sometimes you have to burn some film that you’ll never use. You just have to be generous with yourself, and with visual possibilities.

Full Story: SF360

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