In an article titled "So This New Paul Thomas Anderson Movie Is Definitely About Scientology, Right?," New York Magazine had this to say about his forthcoming sixth feature currently being called "The Master."
Announced last night and already pretty much the upcoming movie we're most looking forward to, Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master will star Philip Seymour Hoffman in the title role as a charismatic dude who founds his own religion in 1952. The film's primary action will allegedly revolve around the clash between Hoffman's character and his second-in-command, a twentysomething guy named Freddie who comes to question what his boss is selling. So, even though Scientology's Wikipedia entry makes no mention of any troublemakers named Freddie, can we safely assume that the film will be a thinly veiled, Bowfinger-y slap at L. Ron Hubbard?
We're certainly going to! Despite Hoffman's physical resemblance to Hubbard and that Scientology was also founded in 1952, Variety claims "the drama does not so much scrutinize self-started churches like Scientology or the Mormons, as much as it explores the need to believe in a higher power, the choice of which one to embrace and the point at which a belief system graduates into a religion." But presumably they'd have to say something like that to get this thing made in Scientology-controlled Hollywood (Universal is apparently waiting on a final draft of the screenplay before it okays the film's $35 million budget).
We wonder if, to any degree, the idea for Master was inspired by Anderson's friendship with Jeremy Blake, the visual artist with whom he collaborated on 2002's Punch Drunk Love. As you'll recall, Blake and girlfriend Theresa Duncan took their own lives in 2007 under mysterious circumstances, with Duncan alleging they'd been harassed by Scientologists after the couple's friend Beck told them he was thinking about leaving the religion (Beck, of course, denied this). So we guess we probably shouldn't look for "Devil's Haircut" on The Master's soundtrack.You can check out the same information but arranged a little different on their website by clicking here.