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Movie Fact #17 - September 3rd, 2020


Paul Thomas Anderson had been working on the script for his 2012 film The Master as early as December 2009. an associate of Anderson stated that the idea for the film had been in Anderson's head for about twelve years before that, after reading a quote that periods after wars are productive times for spiritual movements to start. The length of time he had the idea though lent to the development of the writing. Unsure of the direction the script would take, rather than write it as one coherent outline, Anderson wrote the film as a collection of disparate scenes encompassed material of all sorts from his previous years.

He combined unused scenes from early drafts of There Will Be Blood, elements from the life stories of John Steinbeck and L. Ron Hubbard and from the novel V. by Thomas Pynchon along with stories Jason Robards had told him on the set of Magnolia about his drinking days in the U.S. Navy during World War II (including the draining of ethanol from a torpedo). And while he would go on to play religious leader Lancaster Dodd, Anderson sought Philip Seymour Hoffman's feedback on the script and it was Hoffman's idea to have the film focus more on the story of Freddy Quell (Played by Joaquin Phoenix) than the story of Lancaster's. Anderson also conducted research about Dianetics and its early followers. In short, The Master is as much a compilation of Anderson's career as it is a masterpiece in it's own right. Stay tuned!

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