The film’s official synopsis tells us that it is “a 1950s-set drama centered on the relationship between a charismatic intellectual known as “the Master” whose faith-based organization begins to catch on in America, and a young drifter who becomes his right-hand man.”
It has long been thought that the film is actually supposed to tell the story of the founding of Scientology, though that hasn’t been confirmed yet and the filmmakers have denied it countless times.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, star of The Master, addressed this directly in an interview during which he stated:
[Scientology] was one of the bigger movements at the time, but there were a lot of movements at that time. There’s nothing about how I’m behaving or talking that echoes [Hubbard]. I thought of a lot of other bigger-than-life personalities, charismatic people like Orson Welles. Joaquin’s character is like a beaten dog. No matter where he goes, [Quell] gets into severe trouble. And somehow I’m able to deal with him.
Producer JoAnne Sellar also spoke on the matter, saying that “people are going to have to draw their own conclusions to that aspect of the movie. [Anderson] is interested in how veterans came back from World War II. They were these lost souls who were uncertain about their future.”
I recently had an opportunity to read the screenplay for the film and I’m still not sure how to feel about it. It didn’t exactly leap off the page, nor did it make a particularly big impact. It was an older draft, but I recognized almost every part of the trailer as being straight from it.
Perhaps Anderson made some revisions over the last year or two, or perhaps this is one film that will depend upon what are already being called a pair of amazing performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix. Either way, I’m rather curious to see how it turns out.
The film isn’t too far away now, but to tide you over, we have a few new images that have been released for your viewing pleasure.
Check out the images below and let us know what you think in the comments.
(Source: The Playlist)