Here's just one of the many odd revelations from Lawrence Wright's book on Scientology that's coming out this week:
John Travolta began taking Scientology courses before his audition for the TV show Welcome Back, Kotter, and fellow students pointed in the direction of ABC Studios to telepathically communicate: 'We want John Travolta for the part.' (He got the part.)
Thankfully, Horshack got the part the old-fashioned way. He raised his hand and said, oooooohhhhh! oooooohhhhh! oooooohhhhh!
Tony Ortega has a long interview in the Village Voice with John Brousseau, who was a 32-year member of the Church of Scientology until he left in 2010.
In some ways, Brousseau's tale is one of the most remarkable to come out of the secretive organization, and one that parallels so much of Scientology's own development and controversies.
He and [Scientology leader David] Miscavige were brothers in law. They were both young cameramen working for Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard during his movie-making phase. Brousseau was Hubbard's personal chauffeur and helped maintain the cloak of secrecy when Hubbard vanished for good. He watched Miscavige transform Scientology and turn its base into a prison camp. He worked for Tom Cruise, which included serving in the household with Cruise and Katie Holmes. And having worked closely with both Cruise and Miscavige, he has choice things to say about the nature of their relationship.
Here's part two of the interview.
Speaking of Scientology, P.T. Anderson is working on two movies: 1) a film people are calling The Master about a religious movement similar to Scientology, and 2) an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice.
Last December, this blog was the first to report that Anderson had written a treatment of Pynchon's seventh novel, and was considering doing a screenplay. Now insiders confirm to Vulture that Anderson has, in fact, obtained the blessing of Pynchon and -- in frequent consultation with the eremite novelist himself -- has not only written a first draft, but is more than halfway done with a second.
I'm still powering through it, but the Scientology article in the latest New Yorker is a great read. The article focuses on director and screenwriter Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby), who recently left the church after reaching the church's highest level.