Oscar-nominated director Paul Thomas Anderson will begin production on his new Untitled Religion Film this month, and three young up and coming actresses – Amanda Seyfried (Dear John), Emma Stone (Zombieland) and Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood) – are all being considered for a role.

After churning out several critically-acclaimed indie flicks like Boogie Nights and Punch-Drunk Love, Anderson received the most accolades in his career for his macabre allegorical film concerning the birth of the Western oil industry and modern religious institution, There Will Be Blood.  He will tackle similarly controversial material with his new project, which concerns the formation of a 20th century religious cult that sounds like it’ll bear more than a passing resemblance to Scientology.

Philip Seymour Hoffman (Mission: Impossible 3) will star as “The Master,” who – according to Collider – is “a charming intellectual who hatches a faith-based organization that begins to catch on in America in 1952.” Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) will play Freddy, a loyal subordinate to “The Master,” while Reese Witherspoon is reportedly in talks to play the religious leader’s pregnant wife, Mary Sue.

Seyfried, Stone, and Ann Woll are all possible candidates to play the role of Elizabeth, the daughter of “The Master” and Mary Sue.  Since all three of these actresses are already in their 20s, having any one of them cast as Elizabeth might seem odd should Witherspoon – who is only 34 – come onboard to play their mother.  However, that age difference will apparently work in the scheme of the film – a bit of news that you can take as you will.

The ubiquitous Seyfried seems the least likely candidate to play Elizabeth, since she’s already set to star in Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood.  It would be interesting to see Stone expand her repertoire beyond the realm of comedies and take on something more dramatic and challenging.  Ann Woll (see pic below) has already demonstrated that she can be convincing as a less-than-normal teenager with her turn as vampire Jessica Hamby on True Blood and thus seems like a potentially excellent choice to play Elizabeth. Plus, as The Playlist noted, she would be the cheapest choice for the low-budget production.

Does this new film from writer/director P.T. Anderson sound intriguing?  Which of these young actresses would you like to see play the daughter of a religious cult leader?  Sound off in the comments section below.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s Untitled Religion Film is set to begin production this month and will likely aim for a release date later this year when awards season gets underway.

Source: Collider, The Playlist