The trailer for Hollywood Con Queen on Apple TV Plus offers a sneak peek at a new docuseries by the creator of Tiger King, focusing on the notorious scam that plagued the film industry.

Apple TV Plus has just released the trailer for Hollywood Con Queen, a true-life series with a story that’s stranger than any fiction. The show is based on an investigation by Hollywood Reporter journalist Scott Johnson, who discovered an audacious con that was targeting creative people from the film industry.

What makes Hollywood Con Queen such a strange story?

The person behind the con, Hargobind Tahilramani, successfully impersonated some of Hollywood’s most powerful moguls, tricking people into traveling to Indonesia and then getting them to pay “expenses” that they’d be able to claim back. The sums were huge, and of course the money never arrived. And that isn’t the weird bit.

Hargobind Tahilramani, aka Gobind Tahil, didn’t stick to impersonating just one gender. He often pretended to be a Hollywood hot-shot’s male assistant before transferring the call to the female mogul, who he also impersonated. According to Vanity Fair, in addition to the financial fraud he also lured some of his male victims into performing phone sex.

It’s a fascinating story that made for fascinating journalism – and which will soon be made into a film. But there’s one detail about the production that’s raising a bit of a red flag for me, and that’s the team behind it. It’s been made by Emmy winner Chris Smith and Library Films, who you may recall from a little documentary called Tiger King. They also made 100 Foot Wave, Fyre – one of the best Netflix documentaries – Bad Vegan and others. They’re a very successful team, of course, but watching Tiger King in particular I often felt like I was being manipulated, that it was more reality TV than documentary and that it was lacking in empathy. Given the potentially salacious and embarrassing details of some of the crimes here, I hope the film-makers have treated the victims and their stories with respect.

Hollywood Con Queen premieres on Apple TV Plus on May 8, 2024.

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