The Oscar-winning director discusses his upcoming appearance on Remini’s show and the parallels he sees between Scientologists and Trump supporters.
Leah Remini didn’t always plan for a second season of her show, Scientology and the Aftermath, a deep exposé of the organization she was a part of for most of her life. The upcoming season premieres this summer, with season one earning an Emmy nod for Remini, as well as A&E’s biggest premiere rating in three years.
Season two has many surprises in store, including an interview with perhaps Hollywood’s most prominent Scientology defector, Oscar-winning writer-director Paul Haggis. He appears on the show to discuss his break from the church and the constant harassment he received after his very public split from the organization.
Haggis was a big fan of the first season of Remini’s show. “She’s incredibly brave,” Haggis tells THR from the Ischia Global Fest. “And it’s a very personal story with her, because of course she grew up in Scientology, unlike me. But you don’t want to piss off Leah Remini. You know, you just don’t want to piss her off. And they pissed her off, and you see it.”
Haggis, who left the organization a few years before Remini, said that she was the only person who didn’t shun him after his departure, and even defended his position to the church.
“And then she finally opened her eyes too,” he says. “It’s a long process. You are so inundated with what they want you to look at. I mean it’s ridiculous when you step outside and look at it, but when you are inside you believe you are the one. It’s your group and you are under attack by all these bigots around the world, these bullies, and so you stand up for them.”
Haggis maintains that despite the renewed public level criticism of Scientology, no one in the organization is noticing. “A. they aren’t allowed, but B. it’s not like someone is controlling their television set. It’s a culture that is a very slow…