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The Master is the long-awaited sixth feature film of director Paul Thomas Anderson. It is scheduled for release on October 12, 2012. Joaquin Phoenix plays Freddie Sutton, a misguided young man who falls under the sway of charismatic cult leader Lancaster Dodd, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman.
This film provides examples of:
- Church of Happyology: Lancaster Dodd is described as the charismatic member of a California cult. The degree to which said cult resembles Scientology or the degree to which Dodd resembles L. Ron Hubbard has been the topic of much speculation.
- Development Hell: Universal financed the script but ultimately passed on the film in 2010, either due to budget concerns or nervousness about the Church of Scientology, or maybe both. Anderson had to get independent financing, which delayed the film for two more years and led to Joaquin Phoenix getting the role that was originally supposed to go to Jeremy Renner.
- Military Moonshiner: Freddie Sutton (Joaquin Phoenix) has a still rigged up in the torpedo room of his Navy vessel.
- Production Posse: This is Anderson's sixth film and the fifth to feature Philip Seymour Hoffman, who has missed only There Will Be Blood. Jonny Greenwood, who scored There Will Be Blood, also scored this film. However, this will be the first P.T. Anderson film without Robert Elswit as cinematographer.