Joaquin Phoenix Joins Paul Thomas Anderson’s Untitled Religious Drama; The Weinstein Company to Distribute Film Worldwide

     May 9, 2011


After looking rather dead last September, Paul Thomas Anderson’s untitled religious drama was resurrected this past February when producer Megan Ellison (True Grit) and her Annapurna Productions came on board to finance the picture.  Deadline now reports that Joaquin Phoenix has been confirmed play Freddie Sutton, an alcoholic drifter who becomes right-hand man to Lancaster Dodd, a charismatic intellectual known as The Master (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who’s been attached to the film from the beginning). Earlier drafts of the story were overtly based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, but that has reportedly changed.   According to Deadline, “[Anderson] has greatly overhauled the script and now, Hoffman stars as a man who returns after witnessing the horrors of WWII and tries to rediscover who he is in post-war America. He creates a belief system, something that catches on with other lost souls.”

Deadline is also reporting that Anderson is now considering actresses Madisen Beaty (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) Amy Adams, Lena Endre (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and Laura Dern for roles in the film.  Hit the jump for more details on this exciting production.

In addition to the exciting casting news surrounding the film, Deadline reports that The Weinstein Company has picked up the worldwide distribution rights to the film.  Due to its subject matter, the movie is likely to be controversial, which makes it a good fit for TWC, a company that doesn’t shy away from controversy and whenever possible uses controversy in its marketing.

Production on the film is set to begin June 13th, which seems like it would automatically nix Adams from the film since she’ll be busy playing Lois Lane in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.  But even if the movie doesn’t get Adams, it still has two strong lead actors and the brilliant Paul Thomas Anderson at the helm for what is easily one of my most-anticipated films.

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  • Ben Queensley

    I’ve always wanted to see Dustin Hoffman and Philip Seymour Hoffman do a movie together so that we would finally see the two greatest Hoffmans of all time together on screen. They are both incredible actors and it would be amazing to see them bounce off each other in a film.

  • CMS

    damn… sucks that they totally changed the script. PSH would KILL L. Ron Hubbard in a movie.

    • Clayton

      It still reads like its playing off a newer religion like scientology or mormonism. Whether PTA does a literal reference to them or creates a draped metaphor is yet to be known.

  • Wolstenholme

    They should’ve kept the scientology aspect, not to say they lost it but it sounds as if he’s compromising from the original vision

  • danielplainview

    it’s interesting why Jeremy Renner dropped out of the role.(i would have wanted to see him work with PTA)

    i remember when they were rehearsing it last year, PTA coudn’t overcome a creative bump. but now, it seems he has. is it because he thought Renner was wrong for the part or did he just have his own creative block, and that Renner is no longer available for the par now.

    anyways, i’m pump for this. i hope he gets Renner for Inherent Vice with Downey(don’t know if there is a part available for him there since i haven’t read the book. but i’m hopeful)

    i hope the Master gets release next year(along with Django Unchained) and both QT and PTA gets oscar nominations. i’m dying to see them in one of those LA Times interview.

    There Will Be Blood is the best film since Pulp Fiction

    • Marco

      What’s funny is that director James Gray’s next film “Nightingale” stars Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner XD

  • News Hit

    Anderson needs to be played in a movie by Paul Schneider. Now, please!

  • amanda

    Superman doesnt start filming til late August so depending on her role size she could potentially do the movie.

  • Stephen

    I vote for Laura Dern. She was incredible in Inland Empire–easily the best performance of the year–and I think PTA could bring out a timeless performance from her. Plus, I’m getting tired of seeing Amy Adams in everything.

    He probably shied away from a direct Scientology film because the legal/copyright team of the Church of Scientology is crazy about suing the pants off anyone who attempts to criticize them. Which just further illustrates the point that the Church of Scientology is a multibillion dollar corporation and not an actual church. Anyway, I’d hate to see a masterpiece get shelved because it ticked off the wrong idiots. (Citizen Kane would’ve probably never entered post-production if it were made in today’s free market world.)

  • Apad

    All the women mentioned are technically very different. I doubt all of them are being considered for the same role. Madisen Beaty doesn’t even look a day over 18. Maybe she’s playing a younger version or daughter of Amy Adams/Lena Endre? Or maybe all of them are related in the film? Thoughts?

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  • Marco

    What\’s funny is that director James Gray\’s next film \"Nightingale\" stars Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner XD

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