New Trailer for HBO Max Docuseries The Way Down Explores 'Cult' of Late Diet Guru Gwen Shamblin

by 24USATVSept. 24, 2021, 9 p.m. 69
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New Trailer for HBO Max Docuseries The Way Down Explores 'Cult' of Late Diet Guru Gwen Shamblin

HBO Max is digging into the life of the late Gwen Shamblin Lara, who founded a wildly popular Christian diet program and later, the Remnant Fellowship Church in Tennessee.

The Way Down: God, Greed and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin, a new five-part series debuting on the streamer this month, follows Shamblin Lara's rise to fame as an influential religious leader who convinced her followers that God had given her "the key to permanent weight control," which she reveals in the trailer is "a matter of the heart."

"After rising to fame with her Weigh Down Workshop, a Christian-based diet program that preached slenderness as next to godliness, Gwen Shamblin Lara founded the Tennessee-based church," the series' official synopsis reads, per HBO. "Despite a carefully curated image, Lara and the church soon fielded accusations of emotional, psychological, and physical abuse, and exploitation for their alleged cult-like practices."

The description continues, "Encompassing years of investigation and extensive interviews with former members and others personally impacted, The Way Down explores the legacy of Remnant's infamous leader — whose life came to a shocking end after a plane crash in May 2021."

A trailer for the docuseries released Thursday chronicles Shamblin Lara's journey from weight-loss champion to religious leader, with interview subjects revealing the inner workings of her church.

"How members of Remnant behave is a bit like Handmaid's Tale and Stepford Wives," one says in the trailer, while another interview subject explains, "They want you to be clones of them. It's all about appearances."

One subject alleges "the cross" and "the Bible" are "all sideshow," when the real objective behind Shamblin Lara's church is "money, prestige, [and] power," adding, "that's her Holy Trinity."

In an interview featured in the newly released trailer, one church member says he was not led in "the right direction" by Remnant, which he accused of "leading me to hang myself in my own closet."

The Way Down comes from director and two-time Emmy winner Marina Zenovich, and is executive produced by Zenovich, Nile Cappello, Ross Dinerstein, Luke Dillon and Chrissy Teigen. P.G. Morgan, Rebecca Evans and Ross Girard are listed as co-executive producers on the project.

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