Philip Seymour Hoffman Cast in Paul Thomas Anderson's Next
by Ethan Anderton
December 2, 2009
While this vastly talented duo has worked together before on previous films like Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Punch-Drunk Love, director Paul Thomas Anderson has never given Philip Seymour Hoffman the leading role in any of his films. All that changes as Variety reports tonight that Anderson has finally cast Hoffman in the lead role of his upcoming yet-to-be-titled drama that follows the exploits of a founder of a new religious organization in the 1950's. While the project is set up at Universal, the greenlight and a $35 million budget is still pending a final draft of the script, to be turned in imminently by Anderson himself.
In the film Hoffman will be playing The Master, as in master of ceremonies, "a charismatic intellectual who hatches a faith-based organization that begins to catch on in America in 1952." The core of the film 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." Apparently the film won't criticize self-started religions, but rather focus on the seemingly human need to believe in a higher power, how we decide which power and belief to place our faith, and exactly when a belief system becomes a religion. Definitely sounds like a typical deep end of the pool drama from Anderson.
Way before Capote earned Hoffman an Academy Award for Best Actor, he had already earned my respect from his work in Anderson's earlier films. He is an acting tour de force, disappearing into every single role he takes on. Hoffman and Anderson are two of my favorite actors and directors, respectively, so having them working together once again is quite exhilarating, to say the least. From that plot alone and casting, it sounds like PTA is already working on one hell of a follow-up to There Will Be Blood. And as soon as we get word on any more cast or even an actual title for the film, you'll be the first to know. Already excited?