Going Clear: A Review

by Mark Salcido

GOING CLEAR is an HBO documentary directed by Alex Gibney that was given a limited theatrical release and aired on HBO March 29 2015. The documentary is based on the 2013 book ‘Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and Prison of Belief’ written by Lawrence Wright.

This documentary tells the historyImage 1 of the religion we know as Scientology. From the beginnings of L. Ron Hubbard to where it is now with its leader, Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology center David Micavige. The doc features many archive footage/interviews of Hubbard, Hollywood celebrity current members, The of Church’s ceremonies and testimonies from journalist, the author of the book which the doc is based on and even former members.

The information of this documentary was presented in a very compelling matter that didn’t feel like you were being berated by overwhelming knowledge. The director held your hand as evidence of the church’s doing was displayed from an outside perspective and help from former members that were on the low and high level of the organization.

Now we got the formalities done, let’s REALLY talk about the doc. Ho-ly shit. I cannot believe these people think that Scientology is a legit religion. I get with the history of other religions the same argument can be made, but come on. This documentary points out that his religion was seen as a possible scam to avoid tax evasion from the IRS by its creator, L. Ron Hubbard.

Truthfully, I really don’t want to spoil too much about the documentary. So this will mainly be a reaction piece. As I said early, this doc gives the history of the church but goes a bit further than that. With the help of former members like writer and filmmaker Paul Haggis (member for 35 years), Image 3Mike Rinder former head of the church’s Office of Special Affairs (member for 25 years), written words from Hubbard’s wife Sara Northup and many more, my jaw was dropped to the floor.

So much shit that I thought I knew about the church paled in comparison what was in this documentary. From their belief system, smear campaign on people against the church, tax evasion, abuse of power from past and present to the church going toe to toe with the IRS to be classified as an actual religion. This two hour examination into this world is something that should be seen from anyone who wants to study the world of cults.

My only gripe with it is that it didn’t touch up on a couple of stories about the church. One being the disappearance of David Micavige wife, Michele and the two ‘missing persons’ report filed on her. It’s understandable as her disappearance is more speculated on and not concrete evidence but, boy that wouldn’t raised even moreImage 3 eyebrows.

All in all, I think this documentary was executed very well and should be viewed by anyone with an interest into the religion. But then again, anybody who gets into any religion should take a hard look at it and themselves and think, “Is this really for me?”

Maxwell Caulfield Opens Up About Life, Love and Career

September 20, 2012

Actor, Maxwell Caulfield shot to fame with the 1982 film, “Grease “2 and has sustained a thirty year film career that has seen both highs and lows. He has had a noteworthy presence on Broadway and London’s West End. This writer directed Mr. Caulfield in the feature film, “Midnight Witness” and sat down to chat with him recently at the Pali House Hotel in West Hollywood.

Hollywood Revealed: Maxwell, you are currently starring in the play “Euripides’ Helen” at the Getty Villa where you portray “Menelaos,” a character that has been missing in action for seven years. How do you personally relate to that role?

Maxwell Caulfield: (laughs) Brilliant question. Yeah, that’s absolutely the truth. I play Manelaos, The King of Sparta, and those so called missing years of both the character as well as myself were bloody–but will prove ultimately victorious.

HR: So what have you been up to since we last saw you on TV in the “Colbys?”

MC: I think I’ve racked up a decent body of work. Some pretty good film credits.

HR: Which ones are you especially fond of?

MC: One that comes to mind is “The Real Blond,” Tom DiCillo’s movie with an all-star cast in which I had the best part. “Empire Records” with Renee Zellweger and Liv Tyler has also gone on to become a bit of a cult favorite, and even a couple of my more obscure straight to cable films…

HR: Like our project, “Midnight Witness”.

MC: Well indeed, “Midnight Witness.” A wonderful little movie. Very under estimated. Produced by Menahem Golan and directed by your good self, with the wonderful Jan-Michael Vincent. What a true Hollywood legend.

HR: I agree.

MC: The movies that I am thinking of tended to be shot in Eastern Europe for not a great deal of money. One of them that I was in, “Dragon Storm,” went on to become Sci-Fi’s Channel’s biggest hit at the time. That was a whole lot of fun.

HR: You had tremendous early success with your films as well as your work on stage. Would you say that was a good thing?

MC: No. It was definitely misleading in so far as it set up one’s expectation level to inappropriate heights. While I was considering what my next film at Paramount would be under my three picture contract, they were rush releasing “Grease 2” to a less that stellar opening weekend and my contract suddenly went up in smoke, rather like a James Bond directive.

HR: Ouch. That must’ve hurt.

MC: It did, but I managed to work my way back into the game, specifically with a TV show, ironically again at Paramount, called “The Colbys” which was the spin off of “Dynasty,” but in all honesty, appearing in the sequels to big monster hits is not always the savviest move, particularly if the sequel under performs.

HR: So is there one favorite character you’ve portrayed?

MC: On film?

HR: Yeah.

MC: ‘Cause some of the best roles I’ve gotten to play have been on stage, but on film, there is one project I did that unfortunately didn’t get a theatrical release, even though it was getting a very excited response. It was “The Boys Next Door” with the young Charlie Sheen who just had bud-horns coming out of the top of his head at that point.

HR: What happened?

MC: The production company, New World Pictures, went under at the worst possible moment, so the film ended up, like a lot of my flicks, moving into that cult arena and that doesn’t ultimately serve you too brilliantly in terms of the jockey stakes of movie stardom. But that was a part where I really got to lose myself in the role, because that is what you are ultimately trying to do. Get immersed in the part so that where you leave off and where the part takes over is almost invisible. Considering that I was playing a homicidal maniac it doesn’t speak too highly of my character.

HR: So what advice would you have to the 22 year old Maxwell Caulfield who has just finished starring in “Grease 2?”

MC: (laughs) Don’t believe your own hype is top of the list. Definitely start shooting your second film before the first one comes out. Get out there as quickly as you can to display your versatility. Hollywood is inclined to consign you to a category and it’s up to you to make sure the box is as big as possible so that you can stretch. To quote Noel Coward, it’s imperative to come out of a different hole every time.

HR: And you did with “Boys Next Door.”

MC: Yeah, but it was about a year and a half after being left out in the cold by Paramount.  I was actually hopping mad and used that film as an opportunity to vent.  I did get to work with the wonderful and brilliant Penelope Spheeris on that one.  In fact on “Midnight Witness” you caught me at a pretty opportune time in terms of using a role as an outlet for my own pent up emotions.  I loved playing that guy in your film.  That psycho cop, “Garland.”

HR:  Your movie star status got that film financed.

MC: Wow, that’s a wonderful thing.  Maybe I should have tried to make it a bigger payday.  Just kidding.

HR: You could’ve hit Menahem up for…

MC: Another five grand? (laughs)  Hey, God love him.  He put a lot of us to work.

HR: You’re of course married to the beautiful and talented Juliet Mills, sister of Hayley Mills, daughter of Sir John Mills, who are part of an acting dynasty in the U.K.  What was it like for you, coming from humble beginnings to suddenly find yourself in the midst of British theater and film royalty?  And did your father-in-law give you any career advice?

MC: My father-in-law, the late, great Sir John Mills, chose to let me make my errors.  He did counsel me on occasion but I really should have towed the line a bit more.  I was very enamored of the antics of James Dean and similar rebel heroes of the mid to late fifties who kind of got away with murder on the basis of their talent and their indispensability.  Since then the business has become more corporate as it transitioned into the eighties and nineties.  There was no room for antics or acting out.  I’m not suggesting that I was particularly unprofessional, but Sir John was the height of professionalism and it would have suited me to try and be a consummate pro like he was.

HR: So you’re saying you were you a bad boy in your early days?

MC: It’s not like I was throwing tantrums on the set.  I’m talking about those things that show that you are a thoroughly prepared pro who goes along with the flow. That said, I doubt there are many people who you could talk to in the past two decades who would say that I wasn’t a team player, but at that outset, when I first started out, I admit I was looking for the teen rebel mantle.

HR: And why not?  You were barely out of your teens yourself.

MC: Barely.

HR: And that’s when you met your wife, Juliet.

MC: Yes, Juliet and I met in New York for the first tour of the play, “The Elephant Man” after it had won the Tony Award.  We did a prestigious winter tour of Florida in 1980.  I was playing the title role and she was playing the Victorian actress, Mrs. Kendal, and frankly, it really, truly was love at first sight.  Kind of a beauty and the beast story.

HR: Were you aware of her work?

MC: Yes. I was a fan of hers back in England.  I was very aware of Juliet and her family, but it was the woman I was attracted to, it wasn’t just her beauty and her fame and indeed her money at the time.  We quickly blew through that, by the way–but she was a spectacular woman, and she has made big sacrifices in her own career in support of mine.  That’s one of the reason’s I’m so determined to finally come good.

HR: So what have been some of your favorite on stage experiences?

MC: I’d say on top of the list is obviously “The Elephant Man” because of the great bonus of meeting the woman of my dreams, and “John Merrick” is a marvelous role.  A gift for an actor.  More recently “Billy Flynn” in “Chicago.”  I mean that was crazy.  You spend the show sliding around in a tuxedo with six-foot tall beauties in black lingerie cooing over you, so that was a fantastic role.  I got to do it in London and then a very brief run on Broadway.  “An Inspector Calls” on Broadway was a lot of fun.  Did that for 6 months.  I also toured in a wonderful play called, “Sleuth” with Stacy Keach.

HR:  You’ve actually had a really well-rounded career compared to a lot of actors.  Films, Broadway, television.  What do you think it takes for an actor to make it in today’s market?  ‘Cause things are very different from twenty years ago.

MC: It was definitely a smaller industry then.

HR: You saw the tail end of the star system.

MC: Yeah, I really did.  When I was cast in “Grease 2” I got my break from a genuine, bone-fide star maker, Alan Carr who helped make Ann Margaret a household name.  He was from that school of producers who believed that you cultivate an actor.  He said that Michelle (Pfeiffer) and I were going to become the next Ann Margaret and Elvis Presley.

HR: That must do something to your ego.

MC: Yeah. I think that when you’re young and you are trying to figure out who you are, you try to create an image that you can, (a) live with and (b) you hope will be alluring, particularly if you’re looking to enter this profession.  Anything that is going to give you a high level of self-confidence, ‘cause it’s a big factor in this game.  It’s not only believing in your path but also being very self confident which makes you more or less irresistible to men and women alike.  So for a younger actor, you not only have to have tremendous faith in your abilities but you also have to hone your craft.  You can’t just be lazy about it.  I think that’s critical.

HR: That’s good advice.

MC: I would also add that comedy is king in this town so if you can combine both worlds then you’re really styling, which is why the theater always had such appeal to me.

HR: So what’s next for Maxwell Caulfield?  After this play?

MC: I’m not counting on good old Tinseltown.  It’s been a bit of a jockey stakes for too long now so I’m going to hedge my bets.  Besides a sitcom pilot we’ve developed Juliet and I are combing through scripts at the moment, trying to find a good vehicle for ourselves.  I’m itching to work with her again.

HR: Film or theater?

MC: Theater.  If it’s got film potential and we enjoy success with it, in other words if audiences are touched by the story or amused, or it actually hasn’t been made into a film already, then what we might do is take it either to London or Australia first and then who knows.  Maybe bring it to New York.  It’s so incumbent on you now to generate your own work.

HR: If you could pick three people in Hollywood to sit down with and say, look I started a great career thirty years ago and I’m actually much better now than I was then, who might those three people be?  Who would “get you” right now?

MC: The director I’ve always wanted to work with, but he seems to have just disappeared off the face of the earth,  is Alan Parker but funnily the first person who comes to mind is Sean Penn because he’s an actor director and obviously a contemporary of mine.  There’s a producer I like a lot.  A guy called Laurence Mark who I had a very funny early encounter with at Paramount.  He is shooting a film right now called “Last Vegas” with Robert De Niro and he produced “Julie & Julia,” “As Good as it Gets” and “Jerry Maguire.”  I wouldn’t mind getting a break from him.  I would love to re-team with Tom DiCillo who made the “Real Blond.”  He’s kind of an auteur director and that has been slightly to the detriment of his own career because he’s probably passed on a lot of very good commercial opportunities.  I think when a director wants to work with you again, that’s the greatest compliment, and so it would have to be Penelope Spheeris, Tom DiCillo and Peter Foldy.

HR: Aw, thank you.

MC: It’s true!

HR: So which three actors you haven’t been in films with would you like to work with?

MC: There are so many.  I think I wouldn’t mind going toe to toe with Cate Blanchette.  I hear she’s a firebrand.  I wouldn’t mind being involved in scenes with Philip Seymour Hoffman and… Tom Cruise.  I think Tom is quite an enigmatic fellow.

HR: Good choices.

MC: Oh, and in the veteran acting department it would be a lesson I’m sure to work with Michael Caine.

HR: I’ll leave you with one last question.  Describe what would be your favorite L.A. weekend.

MC: I think it’s always great to catch an open-air concert.  A rock and roll weekend is always fun.  Juliet and I also love going to the racetrack.  It’s wonderful to bump into the same old characters.  Mel Brooks, Dick Van Patten.  They’re just terrific guys.  I’m a mad keen swimmer as you know so any chance to get into the ocean.  I prefer frankly Zuma Beach over Santa Monica bay, just in terms of the water cleanliness.  And obviously good food.  My wife is an awesome cook.

HR: That’s great, Maxwell.  Thanks for chatting.

MC: It’s been a real pleasure, Pete.

Catch Maxwell Caulfield in “Euripides’ Helen” playing Thursday through Saturday at the Getty Villa, closing September 29, 2012.  Showtime is 8:00 p.m. Tickets and further information is available by calling (310) 440-7300 or clicking HERE

Photos by:Peter Foldy

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes to Divorce

Another one bites the dust.

People Magazine reports that Hollywood superstar couple, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are divorcing.

Cruise, 49, married Holmes in November 2006. The couple made their first public appearance together in April 2005. A month later, Cruise made an infamous appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” during which he jumped up and down on a couch while declaring his love for Holmes.

“This is a personal and private matter for Katie and her family,” Holmes’s attorney Jonathan Wolfe told People magazine. “Katie’s primary concern remains, as it always has been, her daughter’s best interest.”

This was the first marriage for Holmes and the third for Cruise who had previously been married to Mimi Rogers, Nicole Kidman prior to Holmes.


Hollywood’s Most Overpaid Movie Stars

Executives make note.  Forbes Magazine has published their list of Hollywood’s most overpaid stars. Those actors who cost more than their box office worth.

This year,will-ferrell Will Ferrell tops the list with flops like Land of the Lost and Step Brothers. Coming in second is Scottish actor, Ewan McGregor.

Other names on the most overpaid list are Eddie Murphy who ranks fourth.  For every dollar Murphy was paid, his films earned only an average $4.43. Coming in at number 6 is Tom Cruise who shows a return on investment of only $7.18.

Compare that to the actor who tops Forbes tomcruiselist of Best Actor for the Buck, Shia LeBeouf. His films earn an average of $160 for every dollar the young actor is paid.

To read the entire story visit the Forbes site:


Tom Cruise’s “Valkyrie”. The Wait Is On

Hollywood has been watching and waiting for Tom Cruise to fail. The man whose films have grossed $6.5 BILLION dollars in box office receipts has become a favorite of gossip mongers and nay sayers because he has chosen to live his life as a Scientologist and jumped on Oprah’s couch proclaiming his love for then girlfriend, Katie Holmes.

After a two year wait, Cruise’s new film, Valkyrie is about to be released.

Directed by Bryan Singer, with an original script by Christopher McQuarrie, Valkyrie was conceived  as a dramatic showcase for Cruise. It was also a high-profile effort to kick-start United Artists, the MGM unit of which he and his producing partner, Paula Wagner, had become part-owners. The film also stars Bill Nighy, Kenneth Brannagh, and Tom Wilkinson.

Last Friday, MGM/UA previewed the Valkyrie trailer in front of the new James Bond movie “Quantum of Solace.” MGM/UA executives nervously held their breaths as audience watched.  Cruise loomed in all his uniformed glory as Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, Hitler’s intended assasin.  The trailer played without a single boo or holler, much to the relief of the suits.

It was not a bad start for a movie that has become unusually tangled in the fortunes of both its star and the company that made it.

Critics and bloggers have questioned everything from the American accents used in the film to the eye-patch that Cruise’s character wear in the movie.  The New York Times recently published a lengthy piece implying that if Valkyrie, in which Cruise plays a German officer who tried to kill Hitler,  doesn’t explode at the box office, Tom’s career may be over.

Why are so many in the media so anxious to destroy this movies before the public even gets a chance to see it?  The Valkyrie trailer looks taunt and exciting.  The cast are all seasoned professionals.  Director Bryan Singer does not make bad films.

Many reviewers are falling all over themselves praising the other Nazi themed movie out this fall, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.  Frankly, that film, though beautifully shot and well acted, lacks credibility and requires a complete and utter suspension of disbelief from audiences. The actors in Striped Pajamas talk with upper-crust British accents.  Where is the outcry for that blunder?

Tom Cruise is a credible movie star who has proven his appeal since early film such as Taps and Risky Business.  He is one of the highest grossing actors on the planet. Lets allow film audiences to judge Valkyrie on their own terms without input from the bitchy, judgmental press corp. who gloat when others fail.