Joaquin Phoenix in Talks to Star in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Untitled Religious Drama

     April 12, 2011


After discovering that no one really cared about his retirement from acting or about the movie about his fake meltdown, Joaquin Phoenix may be getting back into the moving pictures (even though he never really left it).  Variety reports that Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to join Philip Seymour Hoffman in Paul Thomas Anderson’s untitled religious drama.  The story is based on the founding of Scientology and has Hoffman playing “Lancaster Dodd, a charismatic intellectual known as The Master” who creates a new religion, but eventually comes into conflict with his chief disciple.  Phoenix would play the disciple, Freddie Sutton, “an alcholic drifter who becomes his right-hand man only to begin questioning his manipulative mentor.”

Last fall, the film—unofficially referred to as “The Master“—looked dead, but then this past February, Megan Ellison came to rescue not only of this film, but also Anderson’s planned adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice.  Hit the jump for my thoughts on Phoenix joining The Master.

While I found Phoenix’s fake retirement to be an interesting experiment that didn’t really pan out into anything worthwhile, I’ve always found him to be a talented actor who, when given the right direction and a well-written role, can deliver the goods.  He’s also in need of some career rehab and a juicy role in an Anderson flick could be just the trick to get him back on track.  No one does damaged, angry, and down-and-out like Phoenix and while audiences rejected I’m Still Here, I think that he can still be embraced as an actor, especially if he’s sharing the screen with another talented thespian like Hoffman.

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  • geoff

    sweeeeettttt, id love to see this movie

  • Marcelina

    I hope that Joaquin Phoenix returns to his acting career and does movies again like he used to. It would be sad and disappointing if he doesn’t.

    • Charlie

      Actually it’s sad and disappointing that most people don’t understand that he never left acting in the first place.

  • CMS

    are you retarded Goldberg? is was a fucking mock-umentary. he never retired. you work for a movie website, you should know these things.

    and btw, JP’s acting was superb in I’m Still Here. Really excited that he’s joining The Master. PSH is gonna kill this movie.

  • judas

    pheonix will kick so much ass!!!!!!!!!!!

    he will remind us all again why he’s a great actor

  • abandofoutsiders

    wasn’t this Renner’s role?. oh man, now i would love to see Renner get more mainstream attention(especially after the killer performance in the smash hit “The Town”), i still hope he stars on this kinds of movies. Downey hit big but then disappeared in moderate budget dramas. i hope Renner’s career won’t suffer the same fate. Depp, Downey, and Renner are such good actors that they’re wasting time on mainstream big budget blockbusters.

    i hope Downey do star in PTA’s Inherint Vice. and i hope Renner comes back to this flick again(especially after PTA already sorted out the creative block that he’s experiencing).

    no offense to Phoenix(who is also a great actor), but Renner and Hoffman were already rehearsing on this movie back at late last year.

  • abandofoutsiders

    Matt Goldberg is becoming the new Armond White. the difference is that while White hates great movies in favor of horrible ones, Goldberg just hates everything!

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