Paul Thomas Anderson, the acclaimed writer/director of Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood, has a new film coming this September titled “The Master.” As we’ve reported previouslye, it’s basically the story of Scientology.
Of course, It’s not called that in the film, but Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a character named Lancaster Dodd, who is very similar to L. Ron Hubbard who invents his own religion, and Joaquin Phoenix plays a drifter who gets sucked into it. (As we just reported, Hoffman is also playing Plutarch Heavensbee in Catching Fire).
The Master’s release date has been moved up to September 14, a month ahead of schedule, and there’s been strong Oscar buzz from the get-go. Collider and Cinema Blend have also reported on a “secret screening” of the film that took place in Santa Monica California, and early word is very positive. I didn’t get the impression reading the script that it would be a greater masterpiece than There Will Be Blood, but definitely a worthy follow up.
The film was also screened in 70m, and with film disappearing, it may be one of the last times a new movie will be seen in the format. As we see a lot these days, first word on the film hit the Twittersphere, and just a few that were re-run on Collider include, “I can’t describe it or even rate it. I am speechless,” “Oscars all over this one,” and “Hoffman is one of the finest actors alive. The Master is (more) proof.”
The film was run after a screening of The Shining, which definitely makes an interesting double-bill, and quite a few fans have indeed been at a loss for words as to how to describe the film. While the script I read definitely told a linear story, maybe Anderson’s tripped out a little more and gotten non-linear with the film. At least one fan compared it to the work of Terrence Malick (Days of Heaven, Tree of Life), who’s as non-linear as it gets.
And yes, there are reports on Digital Spy and other sites that claim noted Scientology adherent Tom Cruise is not happy about the film, which is even more reason to go see it. IndieWire has also reported that there’s been some scuttlebutt over the 70mm format at The Weinstein Company, who are releasing the The Master, but haven’t been making big plans to show it in 70mm. One fan writing in to Collider definitely recommended seeing the film in 70mm, and it will be interesting to see how many showings there will be in that format before it disappears forever.