Thursday 14 December 2017

Louis Theroux to explore trafficking, opiate use and murder in US in new films

The documentaries follow on from Louis Theroux's successful 2016 feature-length effort My Scientology Movie (BBC/PA)
The documentaries follow on from Louis Theroux's successful 2016 feature-length effort My Scientology Movie (BBC/PA)

Filmmaker Louis Theroux immersed himself in some of the most "dysfunctional and disturbing aspects of American society" for three new documentaries airing later this year.

The broadcaster will uncover and learn about some of the major difficulties faced by the population, including sex trafficking, opiate use and murder in the cities of Houston, Huntington and Milwaukee.

The "challenging" films will air on BBC Two and follow on from Theroux's successful 2016 feature-length effort My Scientology Movie.

Theroux said: "I immerse myself in some of the most dysfunctional and disturbing aspects of American society.

"They combine hard-hitting actuality with intimate interviews."

He said: "I have been granted access to the police in several states; I've got to know the people affected by crime; and I've also spent time with the perpetrators of crime, with the idea of understanding the causes of it, both on a systemic level and also in a very personal way."

Houston, Texas is widely thought to be the main location for human trafficking in North America, and Theroux is seen spending time with American women working in the city's sex industry to delve into the relationship between prostitutes and pimps.

As well as working with local law enforcement in Sex Trafficking Houston (working title), Theroux goes to the county jail and learns about the criminal justice system's struggles to help the women caught within their often-exploitative lifestyle against a desire to criminalise them.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin is considered one of America's most racially divided and impoverished cities and in the film Murder In Milwaukee, Theroux spends time with the local police department on patrol in dangerous areas.

He also embeds with the community to learn of the divide between the African American community and the police at a time of heightened hostility due to a recent police shooting.

Opiate City is based on Theroux's travels to Huntington, West Virginia - a city that sees one in 10 babies born addicted to opiates and which has a fatal overdose rate 13 times the national average.

The journalist follows the frontline emergency services responding several times daily to help those who have overdosed while speaking to members of the community who misuse drugs and struggle with their day-to-day lives.

Patrick Holland, Controller at BBC Two, said Theroux's forthcoming films are "exciting" and that they will be a "real event".

"This trilogy promises to be hugely timely and challenging, it has never been more important to engage with the forces shaping modern America."

Theroux's other notable works include 2007's The Most Hated Family In America and 2003 documentary Louis, Martin And Michael.

Press Association

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