Sarah Paulson to Have a Hair-Raising Transformation Into Gwen Shamblin for New HBO Max Series

Sarah Paulson was cast in a scripted version of The Way Down as the lead role of Gwen Shamblin, who founded the Remnant Fellowship Church and a Christian-based diet, the Weigh Down Workshop.

By Charlotte Walsh Sep 19, 2022 9:26 PMTags
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Sarah Paulson will soon be rocking a new 'do. 

The American Horror Story actress has been cast as controversial religious leader Gwen Shamblin in HBO Max's scripted version of their docuseries The Way Down: God, Greed and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin, E! News has learned. Paulson will also be executive producing the series.

Besides being known for her signature huge hairstyle, Gwen rose to prominence as the founder of the Christian-based diet program the Weigh Down Workshop and Remnant Fellowship Church. In the docuseries, she was accused of abuse and exploitation for her program and church's alleged cult-like practices.

According to the docuseries, Gwen and her then-husband David Shamblin would incorporate weight loss practices into their sermons, pressuring parishioners to fast if they weren't losing more than two pounds a week. 

"I was told myself that I just needed to quit eating to lose more weight. I had lost 130 pounds within 18 months, but they wanted me to fast to lose more weight," former Remnant devotee Terassee Morris claimed in the docuseries. "The faster you do it, the holier you are." 

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Gwen and her new husband, Joe Lara, died along with five other church members in a plane crash in May 2021. 

In a statement on their website, the church slammed The Way Down's allegations, saying, "Remnant Fellowship categorically denies the absurd, defamatory statements and accusations made in this documentary—yet another Hollywood attack on religion."

Paulson is no stranger to playing contentious real-life figures—she won an Emmy award for her American Crime Story portrayal of O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark, and was nominated again for starring as Linda Tripp in the show's third season, Impeachment

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Watch the inspiration for this scripted series, as The Way Down is now available to stream on HBO Max.

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