The Playlist has the latest on the Master, again. This time they are reporting that Universal has passed on the 35 million dollar budget and that Jeremy Renner is still going to play Freddie:
As we first reported a few weeks ago, Deadline Hollywood confirms that Jeremy Renner is circling a role in Paul Thomas Anderson's gestating, to-be-titled Scientology film. As we assumed, it appears that Renner is indeed being considered for the role of Freddie, the young drifter who is becomes apprentice to The Master (Philip Seymour Hoffman). In many ways it was the worst kept secret in Hollywood that Renner and PTA had been talking, but it's only now that their discussions have been confirmed.It's an intriguing development as in the early draft of the script that's currently making the rounds, Freddie is supposed to be in his '20s and in need of guidance and direction, having hit rock bottom with wanton alcoholism. With Renner nearing 40 years old, it's anybody's guess whether or not the script will be tweaked to play closer to his age. We're curious to see how this changes the script (or not). And just remember, this isn't confirmation he's taking the role yet. There's been salient conversations that PTA was resistant to Renner at first specifically because of his age. The character is supposed to be young and impressionable, which makes him open to manipulation and following the word of this self-made godhead, but that doesn't mean it can't be tweaked. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out. After all the script that is floating out there is a very early draft.The other major development is that Universal has gotten cold feet, passing on the project and its $35 million budget. PTA fans have no need to fear as production company River Road is in serious talks to foot the bill. The company has been a haven for auteurs of late, funding Terrence Malick's "Tree Of Life" and Doug Liman's "Fair Game." Honcho Bill Pohlad is also an investor in distributor Apparition, so don't be surprised if the film ends up there. Longtime Anderson collaborators John Lesher and JoAnne Seller are expected to come on board to produce.Reading between the lines, it appears the film is being shopped around as package which leads us believe that once the film finds a home, Renner will officially be on board. At the very least, we hope it gets him out of starring in "Battleship."