Nothing like hearing your favorite film director is about to tackle your favorite subject! Perfect match. Just posted a clip from Anderson's MAGNOLIA yesterday, and today I find out that he is developing a film loosely based on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. Yes. The wait for this movie is already too long.
P.T. Anderson is the Halley's Comet of directors . Like Halley's Comet, Anderson doesn't seem to come around until no one's thinking of him anymore, and then when he does return, he does so with a flash of brilliance that leaves everyone wanting more. Though he has been around since 1997, P.T. has only directed four films during that time span (Soderbergh, for example, has directed 15). Now that we've forgotten his last project, it looks as though he's ready for another go-round.
Variety says Anderson and his muse Philip Seymour Hoffman are ready to set out on their fifth collaboration, this time in a project titled The Master. Based on a not yet finished screenplay by Anderson, the film is a period piece set in the 1950s, where Hoffman will be playing a Master of Ceremonies and founder of a start-up religion. It will focus on the relationship between Hoffman's character and another character named Freddie, a drifter who becomes a high ranking member of the religion as it begins to gain a following across the country, before it leaves Freddie to question the core behind the belief system and its leader.
It doesn't take an idiot to see that the film is a veiled reference to Scientology, which also "coincidentally" began in 1952. According to the article, the film will not so much criticize the religion as much as it will call into question the need for people to believe in a higher being (expect "Religion is the opiate of the people" to be mentioned at least once). No matter what efforts they take to dampen controversy, however, don't expect Tom Cruise or John Travolta to hop on as executive producers. They are probably too busy fighting off Xenu's evil forces anyway.