Paul Thomas Anderson to make The Master next, Weinstein to distribute
There was once a time when it looked as if Paul Thomas Anderson's THE MASTER, a script loosely based on Scientology, would never get made. But Megan Ellison came on to finance the project and it quickly began to gain heat, even rivaling the project Anderson had picked up to fill the post-MASTER void (an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's "Inherent Vice" for Robert Downey, Jr.). Now comes word that The Weinstein Co. has picked up distribution rights to the film with production set to begin this June.
No longer titled THE MASTER, the untitled project would star Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix in a story about the creation of a religion in the late-50s. Hoffman would play the L. Ron Hubbard style role of a man who returns from the war and creates a belief system while trying to find his way in life. Phoenix would play his assistant, a role once meant for Jeremy Renner.
Anderson is in talks with a number of female actresses, including Amy Adams, about the female lead and perhaps this is why Adams recently turned down a high-profile role in ROCK OF AGES (or perhaps she just realized how silly that movie is going to be). The question would be whether she could fit in both SUPERMAN and this film.
If you'll remember, the project was originally set up at Universal when they balked at the $35 million budget (it's possible the subject matter also scared them off). Anderson took the time to almost completely retool the script and it will be markedly different than his original draft. Either way, it'll be great to have some new PT Anderson material in 2012.