Anybody still pondering whether or not Paul Thomas Anderson‘s new film The Master is an allegory for Scientology can stop their um-ing and ah-ing now. According to The Wrap, The Weinstein Company and Anderson have screened the film for Scientology’s most famous spokesperson and supporter, Tom Cruise, in the hopes of forming a truce between the Church and the filmmakers. Unfortunately for them though, Cruise has “issues” with the film.
No word on what those “issues” were as the “unnamed sources” weren’t keen to elaborate, but we presume that these “issues” are related to the politics of the film. Of course, Cruise and Anderson previously collaborated on Magnolia, which gave us Cruise’s finest performance on screen, and the two have remained friends ever since. The Church of Scientology apparently haven’t seen the film so this was presumably a private screening amongst friends, but it is still a curious move.
The Wrap also said that they are not sure whether or not the Weinsteins want the Church’s seal of approval or whether to keep them at a distance, I guess it really doesn’t matter because if the Church do step in there’s always going to the behemoth of Harvey in their way. And I certainly wouldn’t cross him. In the meantime, there is nothing to get anxious about here, Cruise’s reaction isn’t volatile and comes across as simply ‘you have your opinion and I have mine’.
I certainly wouldn’t want to make enemies of the Scientologists because they’re nutters with far too much power (watch the BBC Panorama documentaries to see what I’m talking about). On the other hand, it is difficult to tell whether this is some kind of Harvey stunt to stir the pot and generate publicity. Though if it is, I imagine he would have enjoyed a more fiery reaction.
But if it is annoying Scientologists at this early stage it does give me hope that we are going to witness some form of attack on the Church. Those who saw more footage of the film in Cannes, other than the first teaser, noted that Philip Seymour Hoffman is directly channelling Scientology’s founder: L. Ron Hubbard in his performance. So this is clearly Scientology tract. Now if anything I’m more excited to see it.
The Master opens on October 12th.