May 21, 2024

South West News

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Mark Janicello stars as Tony Finnelli in The Finellis, a film based on his real-life involvement with Scientology and the deadly fallout.

“They couldn’t get to Tom Cruise, John Travolta or Kirstie Alley, so they came for me”

Actor, singer and writer Mark Janicello has poured his heart, soul and life savings into the award-winning comedy film The Finellis, which is set to debut on UK TV screens in January.

It is based on the incredible real-life story of Mark’s involvement with Scientology, which wrecked his showbiz career, resulted in death threats and physical assaults and left him blacklisted, in debt and suicidal.

It’s a story worthy of a Tom Clancy novel and rather than accept defeat, Mark, 59 wrote a book about his life called “Naked in the Spotlight: My Life with Sex Singing and Scientology,” and then went on to pen, co-direct (with Joris Hermans) and star in The Finellis, a comedy about a man called Tony Finelli, who has to rebuild his life after being wrongly imprisoned for 15 years.

“The Finellis is a way for me to rewrite my own history,” says Mark. “I am able to tell my story and share my pain by hiding behind Tony Finelli. My experience with Scientology was horrific. I lost everything.”

Mark became a Scientologist in a bid to save his marriage. “I wanted somebody to fix it for me and Scientology gladly took on that role,” he says.

Scientology didn’t save Mark’s marriage, but it did help him with certain difficulties in his life, so he stayed with the church and because of his showbiz experience, was asked to be a spokesman. He says: “I became a poster boy for Scientology. You have to remember that when I joined we didn’t have the internet, so I wasn’t aware of what other people were saying about them.”

Then, when Mark was living in Germany where he played Elvis Presley in a big- budget Musical, he was targeted by anti-Scientology campaigners and so began a 16-year hate campaign that saw him blacklisted, arrested and bankrupted.

“I asked Scientology to help, but they turned their backs and left me to die,” says Mark

The Finellis, which charts Tony Finelli’s bid to win back his wife, daughters and reputation, also stars Bianca Karsten, Yollete Thomas-Wunder, George Pollock and Sophie-Rose Middleton, and will be showing on AppleTV, Google Play and Amazon Prime from 18th January 2022.

Watch the trailer: