Paul Thomas Anderson

It took five years between Punch Drunk Love and There Will Be Blood, but we won’t have to wait until 2012 to see Paul Thomas Anderson next film. That’s right, the filmmaker has decided on his next project, set it up at Universal, and cast Philip Seymour Hoffman, who has played supporting characters in most of Anderson’s previous films, in the lead role. So what is it about? It’s a $35 million period drama in which Hoffman will play a master of ceremonies nicknamed The Master, “a charismatic intellectual who hatches a faith-based organization that begins to catch on in America in 1952.”

BF Deal Memo has more about the plot:

The core is the relationship between The Master and Freddie, a twenty-something drifter who becomes the leader’s lieutenant. As the faith begins to gain a fervent following, Freddie finds himself questioning the belief system he has embraced, and his mentor.

Anderson’s last film There Will Be Blood had a very cynical take on faith-based organized religion. /Film’s Hunter Stephenson talked at great lengths about the topic in/ his epic/infamous There Will Be Blood review. But the view on religion will be much different in this film, which is said to explore “the need to believe in a higher power, the choice of which to embrace, and the point at which a belief system graduates into a religion.”

Universal has yet to give the film a greenlight, and will wait for Anderson to deliver a finished screenplay before they do. Anderson hopes to film the new project in 2010. I do hope that happens, as I would hate for Anderson to become one of those directors who takes years off between films.

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