Monday, August 20, 2012

Paul Gives His First Interview On ‘The Master'; Amy Adams Says She “Kinda Worships Him"

After 2+ years of silence, the dam has finally broken and PTA and co. have begun actually discussing "The Master" in some detail in various publications. Paul gave his first-ever interview on the film to Newsweek which we've archived here but be warned there are some spoilers. A few safe excerpts are below:

Once word of this leaked out, The Master immediately got tagged as Anderson’s “Scientology movie.” “I was naive,” the director says, somewhat ruefully. “I should have known that’s what people would latch onto.” But if you’re expecting to see an exposé of that controversial “religion,” you’ve come to the wrong movie. This is not to say Scientologists are going to like what they see. But Anderson, who gets a bit stressed when the subject comes up, finds himself “much more defensive and protective of [Scientology] than I would have thought.”

He can look back with humor at the brash young filmmaker who fought with his producers over every frame of his first film, Hard 8. “No one could possibly tell me anything, because I’d painted them as the enemy,” he says. “By Punch Drunk Love I’d mellowed, I felt more confident in myself. I didn’t have to defend every B+ idea I had.”

Kind of like the mixologist Freddie, who makes booze from whatever is at hand, be it guavas or paint thinner, Anderson gathered pieces for his movie from disparate sources. There were scenes he’d written early on for There Will Be Blood he’d never used. There were stories Jason Robards had told him on the set of Magnolia about his drinking days in the Navy during the war. Chunks of Freddie’s experiences as a migrant field worker and wanderer were lifted from John Steinbeck’s life story. There was his fascination with the larger-than-life Hubbard. “But I didn’t want it to be a biography. It’s not the L. Ron Hubbard story,” Anderson says. He was inspired by a quote he read that the period after wars was a particularly fertile time for spiritual movements to start. “That was a hook you could hang your hat on.”

When I mention that The Master, like so many of his movies, is about the creation of a makeshift family, and that there are similarities between the monomaniacal, alcoholic antiheroes of his last two movies, he seems slightly embarrassed. “I know, it’s the same thing again. No matter how hard I try to set out to do something different,” he says. “I wish I would have more diversity as a filmmaker.” It’s a complaint no one else has made.
NYMag has a good little profile on Amy Adams in the most recent issue which features a few quotes about working with Paul on "The Master" as well as a few spoilers you might want to hold off on until after you've seen the film.
“You’re the first person I’ve talked to about it,” says Adams, as if expecting a lightning bolt to strike. Anderson’s working methods were new to her. Even for scenes in which she was not scheduled to appear, she was instructed to show up, just to make her presence felt. “It was exhausting, but I love the effect,” she says. “She’s almost blurry.”
It all sounds a little, well, cultlike, with the secretive Anderson imposing his will upon a cast and crew systematically discombobulated by working methods designed to keep them subtly off-balance throughout. “I won’t go that far,” she says. “But I do kind of worship Paul. He’s magnificent.”
Read the entire piece at NYMag


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  1. "Much more protective of Scientology than I have thought"? This is kinda scary... :(

    1. He's a storyteller. He writes about it, he becomes protective. He can't help it. I watched a documentary about Scientoly, a long time ago, and it was really interesting to see that it was really like science-fiction. Creepy science-fiction. A great story. I can't wait for The Master.

    2. I would say that I am protective of Scientology. In real life and on multiple message boards I am quick to defend it. It is a religion. I honestly don't see it as any more foolish than any other religion and I think most people who do are hypocrites. PTA may feel the same way.

  2. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on feeling "protective" of Scientology, but it is a little, how shall I say - curious. There is little doubt that Scientology is an oppressive and dangerous cult, but, as the previous poster noted, a storyteller (if she's any good) will always withhold a certain amount of judgement from her characters. I can understand him feeling "protective" of his characters, flawed though they may be. But Scientology is doing just fine without PT protecting them.

  3. I think you can feel protective of something without endorsing it. It would be like if someone was attacking all Scientolgist or something you can say "Hey, look, it's their right to believe what they want and I don't think it's fair to just attack all of them because a lot of them are really great people." That's a defense and I can see him saying something like that while not actually condoning people joining it.

  4. These are some definitions used to define a Cult

    Let´s see if the glove fits

    "The group is focused on a leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment." jebb

    "The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members." aha

    "The group is preoccupied with making money." you betcha

    "Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished." disconnecting certainly proves this to be the case

    "Making goals that can´t possibly be reached by non-supernatural normal human beings - Mind-numbing techniques (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, debilitating work routines) are used to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s)." Sure

    "The leadership dictates sometimes in great detail how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, get married; leaders may prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth)." More or less

    "The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity)." Anyone seen the Tom Cruise video where he "knows he´s the only one who can help at a car crash - Fuck the parametics

    "The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society." Again; disconnecting ?

    "The group's leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations)." That basically sums up Hubbard´s life story

    "The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means that members would have considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities)." outrageously expensive courses with a endless hamster-wheel upper levels to pay more for?

    "The leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them." Any story about the procedures of how they deal with dissidents within their group says this is true

    "Members' subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with family and friends, and to give up personal goals and activities that were of interest before joining the group." Ofcourse; no illustration needed

    "Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group." half a million dollars and years worth of auditing to get anywhere

    "Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members." More or less

    It´s a Cult Lock stock and barrel

  5. Amy Adams was on Letterman tonight and they showed a clip of her kinda angry as PSH while he was typing. Dave joked that he couldn't even see the film. He asked Amy about 70mm and she really didn't know other than it looked great. Then he grilled her some about Scientology.