For a while, Paul Thomas Anderson's follow-up to his masterpiece THERE WILL BE BLOOD was in serious trouble, until billionaire Megan Ellison stepped in and gave him the funds when Universal declined. The film, untitled now but previously called THE MASTER, was about a man who decides to create his own religion in post World War II America, and there were hints that the script was a satirical look at Scientology, although I have the feeling that it's not about any religion specifically but more a general story about how we tend to follow charismatic people against our better judgment. Granted, I haven't read the script, and I won't because so much of PTA's work is geared to the visual as opposed to just the written page. But no one wanted to touch it for the longest time, until Ellison's Annapurna Productions came along. Note to Ms. Ellison, there's a Lovecraft movie that probably could use your help...
Distribution rights for the untitled film were still up in the air, but according to Deadline, the Weinstein Company has won the bidding for worldwide distribution of PTA's film, so we may very well be seeing this next year. Since they aren't directly producing the film, they won't be monkeying around with PTA's vision. Shooting begins this June, and right now Philip Seymour Hoffman is locked to play the new religious leader and Joaquin Phoenix is also locked to play in the film as well. I think Paul Thomas Anderson, espcially since THERE WILL BE BLOOD which I feel is the best film of the Aughts, is one of America's finest directors and I'm eagerly anticipating this original project. I think in this day and age for Anderson to take on religion so directly is a brave thing, and if it comes close to THERE WILL BE BLOOD in quality we're in for an amazing film.