Financier Megan Ellison said on Twitter yesterday that the film, which began shooting in June, was likely to arrive in the autumn. Anderson’s sixth full-length movie will feature Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, and Laura Dern. It centres on a pseudo-religious movement named the Cause, which has been compared by some to Scientology.
“I know you guys are waiting on a release date for The Master,” said Ellison in a response to an inquiry from Anderson fan site Cigarettes and Red Vines. “It’s still a bit early, but I’d keep my eyes on October.”
An autumn release would position The Master for a festival debut – perhaps at the New York film festival in late September/early October if it is not ready for Toronto or Venice – followed by an awards season run from December if the film draws positive reviews. There Will Be Blood won two Oscars in 2008, including the best actor gong for Daniel Day-Lewis, and was nominated for eight in total.
The Master marks the fifth collaboration between Anderson and Seymour Hoffman, who also appeared in his debut feature Hard Eight back in 1996 along with supporting roles in Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Punch-Drunk Love. Hoffman plays a charismatic intellectual with more than a hint of Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard, who launches a faith-based organisation in the wake of the second world war. Phoenix plays a young drifter who joins the group and becomes Hoffman’s right-hand man, but later begins to doubt its ideals and ambitions.
Though its budget is said to be a reasonably modest $35m, Anderson reportedly struggled to find financing for The Master before Ellison came on board, leading to a two-year delay between 2009 and last year. The film will once again feature music from Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, who scored There Will Be Blood.