After many months of uncertainty and conspiracy theories, it looks as though Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master is really and truly a go, with previously reported financier Megan Ellison (the standard by whom all privileged rich girls should forever be judged from here on out) ensuring that the sort-of Scientology-based film survives its abandonment by Universal and The Weinstein Company now stepping in to pick up the distribution rights. Deadline further reports that originally attached star Philip Seymour Hoffman is once again locked in to play the leader of a powerful new spiritual group, with the once-more-employable Joaquin Phoenix taking the role once inhabited by Jeremy Renner, who definitely has enough going on. While Hoffman and Phoenix are both confirmed, other rumored contenders include Amy Adams and Laura Dern as the film—which obviously, definitely exists now—against all odds moves toward a June 13 start date.
What remains to be seen, of course, is how much of those Scientology parallels actually remain: Anderson is said to have “greatly overhauled” the script, with Hoffman’s character revised as “a man who returns after witnessing the horrors of WWII and tries to rediscover who he is in post-war America. He creates a belief system, something that catches on with other lost souls.” That’s a fairly, probably intentionally vague summation of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s story, but it’s yet to be revealed how much more of Hubbard’s life and work will actually make it in there. Still, even without it being explicitly about Scientology—but we can agree it's pretty much about Scientology, yes?—expect a campaign of condemnation from David Miscavige beginning any minute now.
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