Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood, Punch Drunk Love, Magnolia has been doing some high-profile casting for his next feature, The Master, about a charismatic man (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who starts “a faith-based organization” in the 1950s. Also already in place is Jeremy Renner as Freddie, a twenty-something drifter who becomes the leader’s loyal follower and right-hand man. The film centers on the relationship between Freddie and the Master and what happens when the religion gains a following and Freddie begins to question both his leader and the faith.
We’re not supposed to say this is a film about Scientology (*wink*), rather “…it explores the need to believe in a higher power, the choice of which one to embrace and the point at which a belief system graduates into a religion.” (Variety)
The news out this week is that Reese Witherspoon has accepted the role of Mary Sue, the Master’s wife. And reportedly up for the role of daughter, Elizabeth are the trio of Amanda Seyfried (Big Love, Letters to Juliet, Dear John) , Emma Stone (Zombieland, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past) and Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood).
This great cast nonwithstanding, the idea of Paul Thomas Anderson taking on Scientology practically has me
squ…..er, my blood surging uncontrollably. Let’s hope filming does indeed begin this summer.