Despite struggling to find proper financing for his next project - the script for which is currently titled The Master - acclaimed auteur P.T. Anderson claims that he should be able to begin shooting the film sometime during the next month.
The Master has been described as the tale of a charismatic gentleman (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who becomes the leader of a prominent cult religious institution in 1950s America. Early word is that the tale not-so-subtly alludes to the rise of the Church of Scientology and its creator, sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard, back in 1952.
Reese Witherspoon will play the dedicated wife of Hoffman's character while Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) is seemingly still set to appear as a loyal follower turned second-in-command of the cult religion - despite the fact that he is currently in final negotiations to play Hawkeye in The Avengers.
The Master is listed at this time as having a $35 million price tag, which is a relatively small budget for a big studio production, but a significant sum for an indie feature. P.T. Anderson's ability to secure the proper funding will likely impact any additional casting selections, including the three young actresses being considered to play the role of Hoffman's daughter in the film.
The folks over at the Cigarettes & Red Vines Blog - which describes itself as "the ultimate Paul Thomas Anderson resource" - managed to catch up with their favorite filmmaker this week and asked him about the status of The Master. Anderson revealed that the project is on course to begin shooting in August, despite Web rumors that suggest the film might be stuck in development limbo.
Those concerned that production on The Master could be rushed in the hopes of getting it in theaters in time for the 2010 movie awards season should remember that Anderson's Oscar-winner, There Will Be Blood did not begin shooting until a relatively short time before making rounds on the festival circuit. The director's new project could do the same and still maintain the quality of his vision.
We'll keep you updated on the development of The Master as additional information comes our way.