Paul Haggis Ponders Fake Interview Request

A quick check with Time magazine confirmed there was no reporter by the name of Mark Webber.

One of the most dramatic moments in the HBO documentary Going Clear is when Paul Haggis recalls his reaction upon being gifted with the crown jewels of Scientology – the religion’s origins story. “Are you f*cking kidding me?!” the filmmaker remembered thinking.

Today, via Tony Ortega, Haggis is sharing another whopper that appears to have the Church’s fingerprints all over it. Someone working on behalf of the Church apparently pretended earlier this month to be a reporter for Time magazine, contacting Haggis via email on April 7 for an interview. Not only was Haggis’ team quickly able to ascertain that “Mark Webber” had nothing to do with the magazine, but via further cyber forensics, they traced the email to a Los Angeles building owned by the Church.

Webber did not respond to further inquiries from both Haggis and Ortega. Nor at press time had Church spokesperson Karin Pouw gotten back to Ortega. Haggis believes the attempt to interview him for a bogus article about the recent “golden age of film” was likely a covert attempt to find out what he’s up to and possibly lead him to some sort of face-to-face meeting. From the writer-director’s comments to Ortega:

The last time this happened to me was when I was told (only after I arrived) that I had offended Tom Cruise by telling a joke to Steven Spielberg — and it was Greg Wilhere, second in charge of the church, who had me in that small room, with his back to the door, and wouldn’t let me leave until I wrote a suitably contrite letter to Tom. And Tommy Davis and staff were outside waiting. After that incident I never again agreed to an interview — unless they came to me, which they did in 2009. Nine senior executives showed up to try and persuade me to tear up my letter of resignation and leave quietly, or face the consequences.

Haggis also recalls an interesting episode with Scientology publication Freedom magazine in the wake of Lawrence Wright’s original New Yorker article. Read the full Ortega blog post here.
[Photo: DFree/]