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Thread: What Louis Theroux fears more than prison inmates and Neo-Nazis

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    Default What Louis Theroux fears more than prison inmates and Neo-Nazis

    What Louis Theroux fears more than prison inmates and Neo-Nazis


    No Cookies | Perth Now

    July 12, 2015 2:00am
    Debbie SchippNews Corp Australia Network



    Deeply confronting: Theroux during filming of By Reason of Insanity. Supplied by BBC

    HE’S the self-effacing Englishman who has transcended geeky journo to become a master documentary maker with so much clout he’s being investigated by Scientology.

    But ask Louis Theroux, 45, what he’s feared most in more than 15 years covering subjects including America’s worst prisons, Neo-Nazi culture, white supremacists and paedophilia and you get a surprising answer.

    “There are sometimes moments where you do get nervous. I did a thing on Neo-Nazis and that was stressful and I went to a big skinhead event and I thought there might be a chance something would happen there,” Theroux says.

    “Prisons and jails I tend to feel that you’re actually safer as a journalist than you might think, certainly more than it appears.


    Safer than you think: Theroux in his documentary, Behind Bars. Picture: Supplied


    “Funnily enough the most danger I felt was when I did a story about exotic animals kept as pets in America.

    “And I kept hearing: ‘I could be in a cage with a tiger all day, but I won’t go near a chimpanzee’. The cliche I heard a lot was that they’ll rip your arm off and beat you to death with it.”
    Theroux’s off-beat humor surfaces.

    “And I don’t want to discredit or cast aspersions on the chimpanzee population, but I think they are so bored and so intelligent and they live to be about 60 years old and they just get angry.
    “When it was time to meet a chimpanzee I got very, very anxious because they have the strength of ten men, so I hear.

    “They bite your genitals off, I hear, and they bite your nose off, and because I have quite a big nose, I always thought one might see my nose and it might be too tempting to resist.”

    Theroux’s greatest gift is his gentle, unassuming mask of neutrality and whip-smart intelligence, which sees him ask questions about the ‘elephant in the room’, and elicit honest rather than angry responses. His subjects may baulk, but they still answer.

    In the case of the first of his two upcoming documentaries, By Reason of Insanity, the result is raw, unflinching storytelling.

    Theroux spends a month immersed in Ohio’s State Psychiatric Hospitals, where his subjects have been incarcerated and are being treated after being found not guilty of horrific crimes ‘by reason of insanity’.

    As schizophrenic Jonathan calmly, clinically, and without a trace of empathy recounts slitting his father’s throat seven years earlier in a paranoid rage, Theroux confesses part of him wants to see ‘more grief’.

    He also asks Jonathon did he love his father — something the inmate confesses he’s never been asked in seven years of treatment.
    It’s deeply confronting. And you can’t look away.


    Curious about extremes: Theroux in a scene from The Most Hated family in America. Picture: Supplied'.


    Theroux chooses difficult, confronting subjects because ‘there is something in me which is curious about both extremes of behaviour extremes of emotion — things that are difficult to deal with that are painful and bring us into conflict with ourselves’.

    “And then on the other hand I choose them to try to sort of make connections with people and understand them.

    “It’s in the DNA of all the shows that I have done that are about people that are dealing with very stressful situations that are giving them a lot of angst. Why I respond to that on a deeper level is hard to answer.”

    “In this documentary there’s a couple of those moments that stand out, really, for me.

    “One is how does a nice person — a person who seems to be polite, sensitive, empathetic end up brutally murdering their father? That’s the big one.

    “The other is how do you decide with someone who appears to be cured, how do you take responsibility for unleashing him or her on the world given that they’ve done something hideous in the past?”

    “You see in the interview with Jonathan, this young man who is on the one hand obliging and answers the questions and appears to be sincerely attempting to engage with me in a dialogue, and then on the other hand he stabbed his father to death.

    “Towards the end of the interview, rather than pretend this is all quite normal, I called attention to the fact that he is talking about something that is absolutely hideous and yet wasn’t showing much emotion.”


    Offbeat fare: Theroux doing publicity for one if his earlier series, Louis Theroux Weird Weekends. Picture: Supplied


    Theroux is currently putting the final touches to his latest documentary on Scientology; a project that has resulted in the powerful religion saying it is making its own documentary on him.

    It’s a common tactic from Scientology when journalists attempt to delve into its workings, and Theroux is unfazed.

    “One of the things I have always enjoyed about Scientology is their proactive approach to journalists who are covering them,” he says.

    “In an odd way it’s kind of a privilege to feel as though I’m on their radar.”


    LOUIS THEROUX: BY REASON OF INSANITY, WEDNESDAY, 8.30PM, BBC KNOWLEDGE

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    I had a sex dream about Louis once...

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    Is he related to Justin?
    Good luck getting a cat to do anything let alone join in on your sexcapades. - Air Quotes

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    Brothers

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    Elite Member HeartShapedBox's Avatar
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    EEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWwwwwww
    Brando likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by exippy View Post
    Brothers
    No. Louis is Paul Theroux's son, and Justin is Paul's nephew. So they're cousins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by exippy View Post
    I had a sex dream about Louis once...
    He's my type.
    sputnik likes this.

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    He's the sexiest Theroux though I'd do justin too
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    i loved his documentary on swingers lol.

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    I thought he would fear being related to Jennifer Aniston the most.
    greysfang, Kathie_Moffett and stef like this.
    I have some famous friends and I have mostly not famous friends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    He's the sexiest Theroux though I'd do justin too
    What happened to his geeky hotness? It's all gone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    He's the sexiest Theroux though I'd do justin too
    Only like the first 50% of this sentence
    Ain't nothing wrong with Ohio wang! - MontanaMama

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    ^ I don't like any of it and now I can't unsee the feather boa pic.
    Kittylady and BrickHouse like this.
    I have some famous friends and I have mostly not famous friends.

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    Yeah, he's lost the bloom of youth but don't we all? I love his work. He manages to elicit all kinds of fascinating info about weird and wonderful subjects most other serious docco makers wouldn't touch. With his diffident British style his subjects, especially Americans, are like putty in his hands.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenna View Post
    No. Louis is Paul Theroux's son, and Justin is Paul's nephew. So they're cousins.
    Yes your right . Sry

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