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HBO Max Documentary Promises to Expose the "Cult" of Gwen Shamblin Lara After Fatal Plane Crash

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The late Gwen Shamblin Lara's legacy as a diet guru and church leader is set to be explored in a new documentary project.

On Thursday, Sept. 23, HBO Max debuted the trailer for the five-part docuseries The Way Down: God, Greed and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin. The footage featured interviews with people about Gwen's Christian diet plan, The Weigh Down Workshop, along with the Tennessee-based Remnant Fellowship Church, which she later founded.

HBO Max's description of the series stated in part, "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 trailer included a previously filmed clip of Gwen saying, "God revealed to me that the key to permanent weight control is a matter of the heart."

Among the individuals featured in the trailer is one man who told the camera, "You taught your kids about drugs and alcohol, but you never think to coach your kids on a cult."

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The series, which launches its first three episodes on Sept. 30, is particularly timely, given that Gwen and husband Joe Lara, an actor who starred in the 1990s television program Tarzan: The Epic Adventures, died in a plane crash in May that also killed the couple's son-in-law, Brandon Hannah.

Four other people died in the crash as well, and they were all leaders of the Remnant Fellowship Church, which Gwen founded in 1999.

The series counts Chrissy Teigen among its executive producers, and the first three episodes launch Thursday, Sept. 30 on HBO Max. The two final episodes will air early next year.

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