Paul Thomas Anderson is one of those offbeat auteurs who continues to operate out of the norm, developing projects like The Master or Inherent Vice as potential followups to his critically-acclaimed and Oscar-winning There Will Be Blood. Now both of the director's new projects may have secured the necessary financial backing to move forward.
It seems that billionairess Megan Ellison (formerly known as the party girl daughter of Oracle boss Larry Ellison, now the executive producer behind True Grit) is in negotiations to fund both of Anderson's new endeavors, either of which could feasibly begin production later this year.
Anderson fans may recall that his religious cult film (and not-so-subtle allegory for Scientology), The Master, was initially supposed to begin shooting last fall before it was indefinitely postponed due to a combination of creative and budgetary concerns. Vulture says that Ellison would co-finance the project, which Jeremy Renner (The Town) is no longer attached to star in, due to his jam-packed schedule. However, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Reese Witherspoon may still be available for the film.
Word got out a couple months ago that Anderson has written a treatment of the 60s-set detective story, Inherent Vice, and now both Ellison, along with the novel's author, the mysterious Thomas Pynchon, have openly pledged their support for the film. Robert Downey Jr. continues to be listed as a potential candidate to star as the pic's pothead protagonist, Larry "Doc" Sportello, and it's been speculated that his departure from Oz, the Great and Powerful was in part motivated by a desire to star in Inherent Vice instead.
The Master certainly stands to attract its share of controversy due to its subject matter, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Anderson won't move forward with that project first. It's based on an original screenplay of his own design and he's had several months to rework the script and smooth out any issues that contributed to its being put on hold.
On the other hand, Inherent Vice could be the more immediately feasible of the two - especially since R.D.J. is already committed to starring in projects like The Avengers and Iron Man 3, and that'll certainly affect his future availability. If Anderson wants to collaborate with the every-busy actor sooner than later, this year might be his best chance.
Which of these two would you like to see Anderson tackle first - The Master or Inherent Vice?