Worrying airline pilots and Emmy hopefuls alike, Sarah Paulson has finally decided on the wig she’ll be wearing for the 2023 television season: late cult leader and large hair aficionado Gwen Shamblin. Per Variety, Paulson will star in a scripted adaptation of HBO’s documentary series about Shamblin and her abusive church, The Way Down.
The Way Down: God, Greed, And The Cult Of Gwen Shamblin focused on weight loss-guru-turned-cult-leader Gwen Shamblin. Rising to fame in the 1980s via her Weight Down Workshop, Shamblin took the next logical step and founded the Remnant Fellowship in 1999. The documentary brought to light many troubling allegations against Shamblin, whom former congregants accused of encouraging disordered eating and violence against children. Several months before the documentary premiered on HBO Max, Shamblin was killed in a plane crash. The filmmakers quickly re-edited the series to include the plane crash, and the series became “the most watched docuseries debut,” according to HBO.
But her natural charisma, hunger for power, and very tall hair will not deter the Emmy winner and prosthetic diehard. After failing to nab the gold this year with her biting portrayal of Linda Tripp on Impeachment, Paulson picked another character transformation that Paulson heads will recognize: Shamblin had a distinct look, an accent, and success in the male-dominated world of cult-leading and religious grifting.
However, the Remnant Fellowship celebrated the “big win” of HBO’s most significant one-day stock tumble with a Venice-worthy 34-second standing ovation. Shamblin’s daughter, Elizabeth Hannah, said during the sermon about HBO that she had been “praying so hard to God would close the mouths of the enemy.” We can only assume that it was Elizabeth Hannah’s prayers that closed the mouth of Batgirl.
One thing’s for sure: Paulson should start doing neck exercises because that wig will be massive.