Back in the Summer of 2011, Paul Thomas Anderson fans were extremely excited when the acclaimed filmmaker finally began production on The Master: an original project the There Will Be Blood director has had much difficulty putting together due to a variety of reasons – including the potentially controversial content of the picture, which has long been described as a not-so-subtle allegory for L. Ron Hubbard’s creation of Scientology during the mid-2oth century.

Due to the prestigious nature of… well, everything related to the film (the director, cast, subject matter, etc.) it’s been presumed that The Weinstein Company was aiming to release The Master in theaters by late 2012, so as to position it as a strong awards contender. However, an official date has yet to be set.

Producer Megan Ellison (True Grit) – who is financing The Master through her Annapurna Pictures body – dropped the following “update” recently, via her Twitter account:

“I know you guys are waiting on a release date for ‘the Master’, and it’s still a bit early, but I’d keep my eyes on October [2012].”

Ellison did not clarify whether The Master will likely be beginning a limited theatrical release around the U.S. by this October – or if the movie will be hitting the film festival circuit at that time, but the latter scenario seems more likely. Most of Anderson’s previous productions (including Boogie Nights, Punch-Drunk Love, and There Will Be Blood) began generating positive buzz by premiering at events like the Cannes Film Festival and Fantastic Fest, prior to their wider theatrical releases.

An excerpt from the teaser poster for P.T. Anderson's new film

The Master stars frequent Anderson collaborator (and Oscar-winner) Philip Seymour Hoffman as the film’s namesake, a charismatic intellectual who founds a new religious movement in the U.S. during the aftermath of WWII. Costarring in the production are such similarly-pretigious thespians as Amy Adams (who previously appeared alongside Hoffman in Doubt) as “The Master’s” youthful wife and Joaquin Phoenix in the role of a disillusioned drifter who becomes a right-hand man to Hoffman’s character.

Anderson is also re-teaming with a handful of familiar technical players on The Master, including his There Will Be Blood editor Peter McNulty, Oscar-winner costume designer Mark Bridges, and musician/composer Johnny Greenwood.

In other words: judging by the content and people involved on both sides of the camera, The Master will be very much a recognizable Anderson project (re: auteur vehicle), complete with the sort of stylistic panache and powerhouse acting present in his prior works. That’s music to the ears of all those cinephiles out there who’ve been anxiously waiting some five years to see the filmmaker once again tackle some provocative material and ideas in cinematic form.

We will continue to keep you posted on the status of The Master as more information is released.

Source: Megan Ellison [via THR]