'Friday Night Lights' thesp to play the son of Scientology-like religious leader

“Friday Night Lights” thesp Jesse Plemons and veteran character actor David Warshofsky have joined the cast of Paul Thomas Anderson’s untitled religious drama, which will be released worldwide by the Weinstein Co.

Script follows a charismatic intellectual (Anderson regular Philip Seymour Hoffman) who, after witnessing the horrors of WWII, creates a belief system designed to catch on with other lost souls in post-war America. Joaquin Phoenix and Laura Dern co-star, with the former playing an alcoholic drifter who becomes his right-hand man and disciple.

The tenets of the faith closely mirror those of Scientology.

Plemons will play Hoffman’s son, while Warshofsky will play a detective.

Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures is financing the period pic, which Universal was previously considering funding before having second thoughts about its mid-range budget.

Anderson and his longtime producing partner JoAnne Sellar will produce through the former’s Ghoulardi Film Co., along with Ellison. Production is scheduled to begin in mid-June in Sacramento.

Plemons, who recently appeared in the studio comedies “Observe and Report” and “Paul,” next co-stars in Universal’s “Battleship.”

Warshofsky previously worked with Anderson on “There Will Be Blood” and was recently cast in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln.” Thesp will soon be seen in two Sundance pics, Miranda July’s “The Future” and Gavin James’ “Little Birds.”

Talent Works reps Warshofsky and Plemons, who is also repped by attorney David Matlof. CornerStone Talent Agency and Patty Woo Management also rep Warshofsky.

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