Paul Thomas Anderson for ‘The Master’

Eye on the Oscars: The Director

For writer-director Anderson, a big key for “The Master” was simply letting it develop at its own pace, as years — and other projects — moved ahead. “I let it incubate for awhile,” Anderson says. “The only person I shared stuff with was JoAnne (Sellar), my producer. She saw different incarnations I went through. I always worked that way, had material I’m working on constantly … until one takes front position.”

Early on, one notion for the story that ultimately starred Joaquin Phoenix was that it would be “more a 90-minute noir story about a drifter after the war,” Anderson notes. “What you are thinking about in your room and your writing, you can’t imagine all the ins and outs and relationships that will develop,” Anderson says. “They never really turn out exactly how you plan, and yet somehow there they are. The only reason to do that is to have the experience.”

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