Monday 21 January 2019

Theroux to explore 'dysfunctional' US

Louis Theroux
Louis Theroux

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 uncovered and learned about some of the major difficulties faced by the US 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.

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

"They combine hard-hitting actuality with intimate interviews.


"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," he added.

Houston, Texas, is thought to be the main location for human trafficking in North America, and in one film Theroux spends time with women working in the city's sex industry.

As well as working with local law enforcement, 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.

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

The third film 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.

BBC Two controller Patrick Holland said the forthcoming films 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."

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