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Paul Thomas Anderson On The Master
No director's cut for the '50s drama

25 September 2012  |  Written by Phil de Semlyen  |  Source: Empire Exclusive

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paul thomas anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson's sixth film, The Master, is perhaps his most off-kilter to date. With its Scientology subtext, it's also likely to be his most headline grabbing, although the modest filmmaker, you feel, would rather avoid all that nonsense. Nonetheless, when Empire met up with him, Anderson was happy to nip one of them in bud: Yes, Tom Cruise has seen it. Well? "The rest is between us."

Fair enough. So how did L. Ron Hubbard's singular sect inform the movie? "Listen. I know there's a long history there, but when you're investigating something, and working on it for a film, you have to learn what it is about it you like. It's just not worth it to go and make a film just to poke a hole in something."

The idea for The Master, explains Anderson, predated his loose adaption of Upton Sinclair's Oil!, There Will Be Blood, as a clutch of formless scenarios "that would kind of peter out or I wouldn't know exactly what direction it was going in".

They finally came together in a narrative that unites demobbed Marine Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) and charismatic demagogue Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) in a devil's dance of morality, faith and turps-based cocktails. 

Not all of the Cannes show reel made the final cut - there's a scene that nods to John Steinbeck - but Anderson quashed any hopes of a director's cut down the line. "No, this it it."

The Master reaches these shores on November 2. Pick up the new issue of Empire from Thursday for more in the meantime.


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Your Comments

RE: Will be great!
I love you PTA. You had me at 'Drainage'. More

Posted by TheSpleen at 14:52 on 29 September 2012 | Report This Post

Will be great!
This will be great, there's no doubt. Should cause a stir with the annoying scientologists too! Including the ever irritating Mr Cruise! More

Posted by dannyfletch at 23:32 on 25 September 2012 | Report This Post

RE:
Can't wait to see this. Indie Scientologists (Scientologists who oppose Cruise's cult and its abusive practices) in the US, where it's already out, are reviewing it at http://bit.ly/RN9woz More

Posted by Scientia at 21:42 on 25 September 2012 | Report This Post

EMPIRE! Please! On behalf of all normal movie lovers everywhere will you at least try- just try- to loose your fetish with that real weirdo (it's official he has been named as today's new wierdo after Michael Jackson) TOM CRUISE. This guy is so strange as we have seen recently both mentally and physically (SMALL,dark and handsome) and his recent B.O track record suggests he is only interesting when doing his "MI" thing. Yes, I know he once bought you lunch but that does not mean that More

Posted by Musicals at 19:21 on 25 September 2012 | Report This Post

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