After the Church of Scientology refuses to cooperate in making a documentary, Louis Theroux teams up with former senior church official Mark Rathbun to create dramatic reconstructions of incidents within the church witnessed by Rathbun and other ex-Scientologists.
They focus in particular on alleged violent behaviour by the church’s leader David Miscavige at its secretive Gold Base facility in California, which Theroux visits. The church retaliates by putting Theroux and his film crew under surveillance, leading to camera-wielding confrontations with a Scientology “squirrel buster” team and with church officials outside Gold Base. Theroux raises questions about Rathbun’s own former complicity in the church’s “terroristic” activities, leading to tensions between the two men.
My Scientology Movie is a 2015 British documentary film about Scientology directed by John Dower, and written by and starring Louis Theroux. The film takes an unconventional approach to the subject matter, featuring young actors “auditioning” for parts playing high-profile Scientologists in scenes recreating accounts from ex-members about incidents involving senior church management. The Church of Scientology responded by putting the filmmakers under surveillance and denouncing the film.
My Scientology Movie premiered at the London Film Festival on 14 October 2015 before receiving a limited theatrical release in the United Kingdom on 7 October 2016 from BBC Films with a North American release scheduled for 3 March 2017 from Magnolia Pictures. The film received highly positive reviews from critics.
My Scientology Movie
Directed by: John Dower
Starring: Louis Theroux, Mark Rathbun, Tom Cruise, Andrew Perez, Rob Alter, Jeff Hawkins, Tom De Vocht, Marc Headley, Steve Mango, Catherine Fraser
Screenplay by: Louis Theroux
Production Design by: lessandro Marvelli
Cinematography by: Will Pugh
Film Editing by: Paul Carlin
Makeup Department: Rachel Pagan
Set Decoration by: Teressa Tunney
Music by: Dan Jones
Distributed by: BBC Films
Release Date: March 3, 2017