In 2008, Paul Thomas (also known by the kid in H-Wood as PT Anderson) was nominated for three Oscars for There Will Be Blood. This post isn't about this movie, but I could easily drown myself (and consequently your eyeballs) in my love and adoration for this film. This film made me give a shit about the Oscars - which I typically resign to categorizing as a circle jerk - and I had once again resigned to that notion promptly after Mr. Anderson did not win any Oscar for this film.
Here's the important bit: There Will Be Blood is the story of a fictional oil tycoon who goes mad with power and the individualsthat he stepped on (or killed) along the way. What equally apparent in subtext is a commentary on the Iraq war: we have always killed for oil and we continue to do so, and it's clearly not for the good of humanity. It's for the good of one man.
The thing of it is, is that he's attacking, or uprooting for discussion, items that cannot harm him in There Will Be Blood. The US Government isn't going to come after him and call him a terrorist for calmly and subtley commenting on their war. Ancient oil tycoons, like the late Anna Nicole Smith's late husband (that sentence had a 100% death ratio!), aren't around and probably don't give a nard about dishing their feelings back to Anderson.
Though the target and subtext of his next film, The Master, has a history of being much nastier to it's dissenters. Mr. Anderson is taking on Scientology in the same semi-ambiguous fashion that he took on the oil industry. He's got a huge sack, let me tell you what.
Mr. Anderson should place those latex Truck Nutz on his camera or directing chair or whatever it is he's got. His balls are HUGE.
The Master is said to start shooting in August of this year. The basic premise, and entire movie, do not use the word Scientology. They would be sued if they did so. Funny...you can use the word "Catholic" or "Mormon" anywhere you like. Only copyrighted business names tend to have this use issue...hmm...
But I digress.
Here's a synopsis of what is known so far about the plot of The Master:The Master is the story of “..a charismatic intellectual (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who hatches a faith-based organization that begins to catch on in America in 1952 called The Cause. The core dynamic centers on the relationship between The Master and Freddie Sutton, an aimless twenty-something drifter and alcoholic who eventually becomes the leader’s loyal lieutenant. As the faith begins to gain a fervent following, Freddie finds himself questioning the belief system he has embraced, and his mentor.”
Not only is Mr. Anderson taking on an organization that has been known to destroy carrers in Hollywood and the lives of every day people that haven't even made their way into Los Angeles, let along Hollywood. I'll go ahead and state the obvious: Anderson lives and works in Hollywood. It's his life, but with this, he's proving he's much more of an artist than a businessman. I like this.
Lucky for him, Philip Seymour Hoffman has signed on and he's got more talent than anyone around...except maybe John C. Reilly. It's possible that these two, Anderson and Hoffman, don't need the Hollywood "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" crew any longer.
Which leads me to a sad thought: how accomplished must one be in order to actually distribute their own, real, thoughts in a work of art and get away with it? Apparently, you need to have repeat Oscar nomination calibder - at minimum.
If Anderson and all his cast and crew make this film successfully and come out unscathed, I'll be elated. It will prove, finally, that perhaps Scientology has lost is stranglehold on Hollywood.