15 images from The Master, which isn’t about Scientology*


More than a dozen new images from Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master surfaced over the weekend, giving us more glimpses of Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams. Perhaps most striking, though, is Phoenix looking like Ed Grimley in one pic. Maybe there’s a scene where they play triangles as some sort of kooky mystic-alien thing.

On the note of kooky mystic-alien things, Hoffman and producer JoAnne Sellar tried to downplay the Scientology angle of the film to Entertainment Weekly. Hoffman said the film isn’t about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and that he instead based the Lancaster Dodd character on charismatic figures like Orson Welles. Sellar said that Anderson’s primary interest in The Master was examining the veteran experience after World War II.

We’ll find out what The Master is about on September 14th. If the early buzz is any indication, it’s bound to be pretty spectacular. Check out all of the new images in the gallery. The full quotes from Hoffman and Sellar have been included after the cut.

It’s totally about Scientology.

[Cigarettes & Red Vines, Entertainment Weekly, The Film Stage, Joaquin Phoenix Central via Collider]

Philip Seymour Hoffman and JoAnne Sellar on The Master and Scientology:

“It’s not the L. Ron Hubbard story. [Scientology] was one of the bigger movements at the time, but there were a lot of movements at that time,” says Hoffman. “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.”

“People are going to have to draw their own conclusions to that aspect of the movie,” says producer JoAnne Sellar. “[Anderson] is interested in how veterans came back from World War II. They were these lost souls who were uncertain about their future.”

“Joaquin’s character is like a beaten dog,” says Hoffman. “No matter where he goes, [Quell] gets into severe trouble. And somehow I’m able to deal with him.”

Hubert Vigilla
Brooklyn-based fiction writer, film critic, and long-time editor and contributor for Flixist. A booster of all things passionate and idiosyncratic.