We managed to catch filmmakers Louis Theroux and John Dower last night as they were celebrating their collaboration, My Scientology Movie, winning an NME Award for “Best Film.”
The first question we asked them both was, what’s an NME Award?
Not familiar with the tradition over on this side of the Atlantic, we were still happy to see the movie get some recognition. We first saw it at its worldwide premiere in October 2015, and it will soon open here in the US, in theaters on March 10. It’s a hilarious film, and it did very well on its theatrical release in the UK. But what should we think about this honor?
“The film got an amazing response from the younger generation and I think the NME award reflects that,” Theroux messaged us. “It’s a well respected and much beloved music magazine that has been around for yonks. Better known for championing bands and singers. But they also give out a film award. It’s voted on by the public. And this year we were lucky enough to win!”
We were also fortunate to reach Dower, the film’s director, who was in mid-celebration.
“I’m currently tearing through the bottle of free Jack Daniels I left the ceremony with (sadly not my favorite bourbon, too sweet and not a notch on the Makers Mark that we liked to share with Marty, or my ultimate favorite, Noah’s Mill),” Dower said. “But basically NME is the UK’s oldest music magazine, our equivalent of Rolling Stone, so it felt very satisfying to win the award as I think they got the freewheeling fun we tried to approach the subject with. Obviously I’m not saying Scientology is fun but as you know our intention was to approach with a Pythonesque sense of humor (especially given how humorless they are) as a way of revealing their ‘unique’ mindset. Anyway, looking forward to the US release. I’m hopefully coming over to New York so let me buy you a decent glass of bourbon.”
We’d certainly like to take him up on that.
According to NME, here’s what the two of them said when the award was announced.
“Thank you, simmer down,” Theroux quipped from the stage. “A big, big thank to NME, to everyone who voted, a big thank you to my wife, who’s had a baby while I was making this film. He’s now two and a half years old. But there’s one person out there that made this film possible and that is Tom Cruise. He wouldn’t be in the film but Tom if you’re out there please call my agent, let’s do an expose, I’ve already got already got a title – My Scientology Sequel.”
Dower added: “We had a lot of fun making this film, we thought the Church Of Scientology were out there, and then Donald Trump came along. Thanks to Louis, my producer, editor. Who needs BAFTA when you can win a fucking NME Award?”
Who indeed. And now on to March 10!
Leah Remini on Bill Maher
As we told you previously, Leah Remini’s appearance on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher got moved to February 17. And now, tomorrow night’s episode is quickly gaining notoriety because Maher has also invited Breitbart alt-right bomb-thrower Milo Yiannopoulos.
Maher’s invitation to Milo has already caused another guest, Intercept journalist Jeremy Scahill, to pull out. In a statement he posted to Twitter, Scahill explained his reasons: “He has many venues to spew his hateful diatribes. There is no value in ‘debating’ him. Appearing on Real Time will provide Yiannopoulos with a large, important platform to openly advocate his racist, anti-immigrant campaign. It will be exploited by Yiannopoulos in an attempt to legitimize his hateful agenda. Yiannopoulos’s appearance could also be used to incite violence against immigrants, transgender people, and others at a time when the Trump administration is already seeking to formalize a war against some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”
We hear that Leah will be appearing late in the episode and won’t be part of whatever Milo and the panel get up to. Still, as much as we find Milo’s views distasteful, Leah might do worse than to see if the Breitbart writer will carry a message about Scientology to his old boss, Trump advisor Steve Bannon.
We’ll certainly be watching Friday night!
Mark Fisher gets the Fox treatment in Las Vegas
When we think of what Mark Fisher went through in Las Vegas after he left Scientology in 1990, we think of one of the best stories that Joe Childs and Tom Tobin ever did at the Tampa Bay Times. In that story, Tobin and Childs revealed how Scientology leader David Miscavige sent his chief private investigator, Dave Lubow, to infiltrate a mortgage company where Fisher and other former high-ranking Scientologists were working. It’s one of our favorite Scientology spy stories.
Now, the local Fox affiliate in Las Vegas has taken a look at Mark’s story in a two-part series that ran there last night, clearly inspired by what they saw in Leah Remini’s A&E series. We hope more local television news outlets get similar ideas!
“The interesting response besides the usual trashing they do of me is they sent a letter from my ex wife. It’s the first time anyone has heard from her in 26 years,” Mark tells us.
FOX5 Vegas – KVVU
Joy Villa and her Trump dress
Our readers know that Joy Villa has been a favorite here at the Underground Bunker for a few years. We’ve followed the wannabe celebrity as she’s tried so many things to get famous. There was her bodybuilding phase. Her tiny waist phase. And of course her whirlwind romance with fellow Scientologist Thorsten Overgaard, a Danish photographer.
We enjoyed the Daily Beast’s take on Joy’s big publicity stunt Sunday night that has endeared her with Trump supporters. We tweeted quite a lot about it that night, but we’ve refrained from saying much about it here at the website because, well, we can’t even.
HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25. Go here to start making your plans.
Scientology disconnection, a reminder
Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,665 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,262 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,302 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,014 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 481 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,599 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,769 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,089 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,064 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 420 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,722 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 829 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,231 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,104 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 685 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,190 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,434 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,543 days.
E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.
Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.
The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)
Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield