Scientology documentary? What Scientology documentary? John Travolta ain't seen no stinkin' Scientology documentary.
And he doesn't intend to, he says.
"I've been so happy with my [Scientology] experience in the last 40 years," the actor told the Tampa Bay Times, "that I really don't have anything to say that would shed light on [a documentary] so decidedly negative."
Travolta was referring to "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, had a limited theatrical release and went wide on HBO starting March 29. In the Alex Gibney documentary, based on a book by Lawrence Wright, former Scientologists allege abuse by the church and call on high-profile members Travolta and Tom Cruise to speak out against the organization.
The "Saturday Night Fever" actor, a four-decade Scientologist, said he hadn't experienced any of the negative things he's heard are alleged in the movie.
"So why would I communicate something that wasn't true for me?" he told the Florida newspaper, which talked to him by phone as he promoted a local appearance at a fundraiser involving his late-April release "The Forger."
"It wouldn't make sense, nor would it for Tom, I imagine."
In "Going Clear," former church member Spanky Taylor -- who said she was assigned as Travolta's contact when he joined, pre-"Welcome Back Kotter," and became his close friend -- contradicts that assertion.
Travolta "certainly got exposed to the fact that everything wasn’t on the up-and-up,” Taylor says in the movie after telling how, years ago, she was separated from her daughter and taken to what she called an internal "prison camp" to do menial labor after criticizing the church. She was cut off from Travolta, who she says knew what was happening to her. "I often wonder what could possibly keep him there."
"Going Clear" alleges that damaging secrets obtained during the church's "auditing" process are used to persuade high-profile members to stay, and that members are dissuaded from reading anything negative about the organization.
"From the time that I got in, for 30 years, I never read one critical thing about Scientology," director Paul Haggis says in the doc. "When I finally decided to open my eyes and look, I was shocked, just shocked."
The church's Freedom magazine says "Going Clear" is "glorifying admitted liars expelled as long as three decades ago from the church" and that the film and Wright's book are "transparent vehicles for their vendettas against all religion and people of faith." Gibney and HBO "stonewalled 14 requests by the church to offer relevant information, with more than 25 individuals with firsthand information eager to speak," Freedom says.
In the documentary, a fatigues-clad Travolta shares a bright view of the church in old interview footage shot while he was filming the 1999 movie "The General's Daughter."
"Probably my favorite concept of Scientology is a world without criminality, a world without war and a world without insanity," he says. "And I know of no other group that their goals are that clear."
Now 61, Travolta told the Tampa Bay Times, "I've helped so many people through hard times. ... Through many tough, tough life situations I've used the technology to support them and help them. It's always worked."
Scientology, he told the paper, "has been nothing but brilliant for me."