In the early days of reporting on Paul Thomas Anderson‘s latest movie, before it was called The Master, we tentatively referred to it as PTA’s Scientology Film. The conception of the movie has since evolved, focusing on a man (Philip Seymour Hoffman) so shaken by the horrors of World War II that he creates a new, nonspecific religion. But still, there are similarities between this story and the life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard—specifically the post-WWII time frame and the philosophical epiphany on a boat trip. This seems enough cause for tension between Anderson and Tom Cruise, his Magnolia star and outspoken Scientologist. Anderson, giving us yet another reason to respect him, decided to address the conflict head on and screen a rough cut of The Master for Cruise. Hit the jump for Cruise’s reaction.
Cruise’s representation declined to comment, but The Wrap spoke to two sources close to the production. Both said Cruise “had issues” with a few parts. Anderson still has a few months to fine tune The Master before the October 12 release date. So he could feasibly alter any perceived critiques between now and then. While I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cruise’s name included in the special thanks section, the main reason we respect Anderson is his astounding ability to execute his singular vision on screen. Addressing the issue months in advance is a good idea. Softening the impact of the story is a bad idea.
Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Jesse Plemons, and David Warshovsky also star in The Master. The first clip was released yesterday, and it’s captivating. Just to make sure you watch it, I embedded it below.