If you’re a film geek, chances are pretty good you’re a Paul Thomas Anderson fan, and he’s finally about to make his first movie since There Will Be Blood.
The project has gone under the name The Master, but it doesn’t have an official title at the moment, and will star PTA mainstay Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
The story is about someone who invents a religion, and although it’s called The Cause, and the leader, the master of the title played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, it’s obvious this is about Scientology, and Hoffman bears a strong resemblance to L. Ron Hubbard. (Joaquin Phoenix is also onboard as a drifter who gets involved with the religion.)
The project stalled at Universal, reportedly over its $35 million budget, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the studio was also afraid of Scientology’s well known bullying and threats of litigation.
Anderson is certainly one filmmaker fearless enough to take on Scientology in a movie, and it’s another leak in their dam following screenwriter Paul Haggis’s defection, and a scathing investigative piece in the New Yorker. (There are also two books on Scientology in the works.)
The screenplay has reportedly undergone an overhaul, but having read an early version, I can attest it is very good, and it should make a worthy follow up to There Will Be Blood.
You may also recall that back in the day, Miramax used to relish taking on controversial films like Priest, which they released on Good Friday, and Kids, so maybe they’re looking for some good trouble again.
In addition, Anderson has adapted the Thomas Pynchon private eye novel Inherent Vice, with Robert Downey Jr. being looked at to star, which would absolutely equal film geek nirvana if it comes together.
In the meantime, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and PTA back together again should definitely satisfy and hold Anderson fans over.