Just yesterday there was news that two more actors had signed on for P.T. Anderson’s untitled religious cult drama (formerly, The Master). It’s a modestly-budgeted project that is quickly coming together to begin production this month – after it was put on indefinite hold last fall.
The cast for Anderson’s new period film includes the likes of Oscar-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman and Oscar-nominee Joaquin Phoenix – and now it’s added another thespian whose work has often been recognized by the Academy: actress Amy Adams.
Deadline says that Adams will soon set to work on Anderson’s Scientology-inspired production, in which she’ll play the subservient wife of a man (Hoffman) who founds a new belief system that becomes immensely popular in the 1950s. She’ll thereafter shift gears and offer her own take on everyone’s (or at least Superman’s) favorite career-driven gal, Lois Lane, in Zach Snyder’s Man of Steel – which is expected to begin shooting well before the year is out.
Phoenix will star in the film as the fiercely loyal confidant and right-hand man to Hoffman’s “Master” character, while Jesse Plemons is set to portray Hoffman’s son. David Warshofsky is going to play a detective who (presumably) ends up investigating the shadier aspects of the film’s fictional faith-based organization.
Oscar-nominee Laura Dern (Jurassic Park) and actress Lena Endre (the Swedish-language adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) are also said to be all but set for undisclosed supporting roles in Anderson’s picture.
Anderson juxtaposed the rise of institutional religion in early 20th-century America with the birth of the modern oil industry in his last film, the multiple Oscar-nominee (and winner, for Best Actor) There Will Be Blood. So his interest in crafting a fictional tale that serves as a less-than-subtle allegory for L. Ron Hubbard’s formation of Scientology – one that will surely attract more than its fair share of controversy, due to that subject matter – isn’t all that surprising. Neither is the fact that so many acclaimed actors and actresses seem more than ready to sign on for the unusual auteur’s latest creation.
How much Anderson’s project has changed since it was titled The Master – and looked to feature Reese Witherspoon and Jeremy Renner in the roles that Adams and Phoenix are now set for – is anyone but the filmmaker’s guess. It’s possible that Anderson has done some significant revamping of his original screenplay over the past eight months or so, but don’t expect him to pull any punches with the final product. If there’s one thing this director has proven, it’s that he is quite comfortable walking on the wild side, when it concerns his art.
As mentioned before, Anderson will begin production on his new project in California this month. Given that this already sounds like a potential awards contender, it’s reasonable to assume that the film won’t hit theaters until fall 2012 – that is, unless Anderson moves really fast with this one and somehow has it finished in time for a late 2011 release (pretty unlikely, at this point).
As always, we’ll keep you posted.