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Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film is The Master, which just had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival this weekend, and where critics and the audience were impressed by the final product. As his first film since 2007’s acclaimed There Will Be Blood, The Master is highly anticipated. Anderson and star Philip Seymour Hoffman told the press about the film and the inspiration behind it.
Anderson admitted that it was inspired by L.Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Oscar-winner Hoffman, who has starred in three of Anderson’s previous films, plays the charismatic Lancaster Dodd, who is based on Hubbard.
“I based it on L. Ron Hubbard, a lot of it related to the early days of Dianetics,” Anderson said on Saturday, reports Indiewire. “I don’t know much about Scientology. But I do know a lot about the beginning of the movement. It inspired me to use it as a backdrop for these characters.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Anderson said that he did show the film to Tom Cruise, who was nominated for an Oscar for Anderson’s 1999 film Magnolia. “Yes, I have shown him the film, and yes, we are still friends,” he said. “The rest is between me and Tom.”
Hoffman described the film as “the age-old story of a man who needs guidance, finds a mentor, they become co-dependent, the man leaves, and the one who is actually hurt is the mentor.”
The Capote actor added that The Master looks at some of the bigger questions of human nature. “We ask ourselves, ‘Why can’t we run through the streets of Venice naked, and eat and s**t and have sex with everyone we see?’...But no, we can’t do that, and so sometimes we need a Master to help make sense of the world.”
According to The Associated Press, Joaquin Phoenix, who plays the drifter Freddie Quell, was at the press conference, but he behaved strangely, fidgeting at the dais and lighting cigarettes. He also left the dais for two minutes and only answered one question.
“I’ll just say, I’ll say I don’t think, maybe Paul gives, or gave me, the impression I had leeway. But I don’t think I ever did...I don’t know where it comes from and I don’t care,” Phoenix said.
The Master also stars Amy Adams in her first role for Anderson, who had nothing but praise for her. The film hits theaters on Sept. 14, with a wide release set for Sept. 21.
image: The Weinstein Company