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Is Lifetime's 'Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation' based on a true story?

Jennifer Grey portrays the character of a controversial religious leader Gwen Shamblin in the new Lifetime movie
UPDATED JAN 26, 2023
Jennifer Grey as Gwen Shamblin (Lifetime)
Jennifer Grey as Gwen Shamblin (Lifetime)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Lifetime movies always have a wow factor about them, and this time it has chosen a very controversial topic rather than someone to make a film on. Two weeks back, Lifetime dropped the trailer of 'Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation.' The minute-long trailer portrays Gwen Shamblin Lara’s ministry and influence. At one point, she tells her followers, “This demon isn’t food. It’s sin.” Elsewhere in the trailer, the character says, “Satan does not give up,” “I’ve always had what I would call a crush on God,” and “Your stomach doesn’t need food. It needs God.” Another scene shows a man standing with his wife and son. He tells Shamblin Lara, “We’ll follow you wherever you lead us.”  

However, how much of it is really true? Catch Jennifer Grey portraying the character of a controversial religious leader Gwen Shamblin in the new Lifetime movie, 'Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation' in February 2023, but before that let's find out if it is based on a true story or not.


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Is 'Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation' based on a true story?

Lifetime's newest movie 'Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation,' is based on the real-life of a church leader and diet guru, Gwen Shamblin Lara, who was accused of leading a cult life and died in a plane crash in May 2021. “Based on a true story, the movie centers on the controversial religious leader and faith-based diet creator who positioned herself as God’s prophet and preached the virtues of being thin,” says Lifetime in a description of the film, marketed as a movie “ripped from the headlines.” 

However, Gwen Shamblin Lara was an author, as well as the founder of the Christian diet program The Weigh Down Workshop and founder of the Remnant Fellowship. HBO Max’s docuseries, 'The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin,' chronicles Shamblin Lara’s rise to prominence and describes in detail a culture of control and spiritual abuse at the church.

Gwen Shamblin Lara was one of seven people who died in a plane crash on May 29, 2021. Among the deceased was her husband, former 'Tarzan' actor Joe Lara, as well as Remnant Fellowship church leaders David Martin and his wife Jennifer, Jonathan Walters and his wife Jessica, and Shamblin Lara’s son-in-law, Brandon Hannah.

'Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation' premieres on Saturday, February 4 at 8/7c.