×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘The Master’ commands Lido

Anderson, cast discuss Scientology-inspired pic

Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” made a big splash Saturday on the Lido, as the highly anticipated drama inspired by the early days of Scientology had its world preem with the helmer and key cast members Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman in tow.

While Anderson confirmed that the titular character, played by Hoffman, is “based on L. Ron Hubbard,” he sought to downplay that aspect of the film, which he described as “a love story about these guys” set in the 1950s, in the post-war era when there was “a tremendous amount of hope but a lot of bodies in the background.”

Anderson also confirmed he has shown the film to well-known Scientologist Tom Cruise. “We are still friends,” he said. “Yes, I showed him the film and the rest is between us.”

Hoffman, describing the dynamic between his character — named Lancaster Dodd — and the bond he establishes with the violent, sex-obsessed, alcoholic navy veteran named Freddie, played by Phoenix, said: “They’re coming from different places, but I think they were born the same thing. They’re both wild beasts. One of them has just tamed it and he’s trying to teach other people to do that.”

But ultimately Dodd wants to be wild, like Freddie, Hoffman added.

“We all wake up every morning and think: fuck, why can’t I walk naked through the street of Venice? Why can’t I have sex with everybody I see and have that be OK,” Hoffman went on to elaborate, prompting a burst of laughter at the packed presser.

Besides touching briefly on what inspired “The Master” in terms of story, Anderson also elaborated a little on his choice of shooting the pic in 70mm format.

“We were just messing around with cameras at Panavision,” the helmer said. “They recommended this big huge camera that gives you great depth. We tried it, it looked great.”

But, he added, “we didn’t really think it through because the camera broke all the time and made a lot of noise.”

In some scenes that noise was eliminated by using fan sounds, Anderson said.

The high-quality visual aspect of the pic was among the fest’s big talking points.

“The Master” will go out Sept. 21 Stateside via the Weinstein Co. Lucky Red will release the film in January in Italy.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 'Talking About Trees' Helmer Suhaib Gasmelbari

    'Talking About Trees' Director Suhaib Gasmelbari Receives Variety MENA Award

    Suhaib Gasmelbari, whose Sudanese documentary “Talking About Trees” premiered in the Berlinale’s Panorama section, received the Variety Middle East and North Africa Region Talent Award Saturday at the El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt from festival director Intishal Al Timimi. Variety critic Jay Weissberg, who selected the honoree, said that it is not usual that [...]

  • Josefina-Molina

    Josefina Molina: Still Battling After All These Years

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — She isn’t done yet. The battling character of Josefina Molina, winner of Spain’s 2019 National Cinematography Prize, was glimpsed in her acceptance speech at the San Sebastian Festival on Saturday. She used part to thank those who had given crucial help, such as, among women, editors Nieves Martin (1981’s “Función de Noche,” [...]

  • Suro

    Lastor, ‘The Endless Trench’s’ Irusoin, Malmo Team for Mikel Gurrea’s ‘Suro’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN – Barcelona-based Lastor Media and Malmo Pictures have teamed with San Sebastian’s Irusoin to produce “Suro” (The Cork), the feature debut of Mikel Gurrea and a product of San Sebastian’s Ikusmira Berriak program. The film stars Laia Costa, who broke through with Sebastian Schipper’s “Victoria” and also serves as executive producer, and Pol López [...]

  • Ane

    Madrid’s ECAM Incubator Develops Terrorism Drama 'Ane'

    SAN SEBASTIAN — For the second year in a row, the ECAM Madrid Film School has paired a number of up-and-coming filmmakers with various industry veterans for an Incubator program part of the school broader development arm called The Screen. For its initial edition in 2018, this Incubator selected five feature projects, putting the selected [...]

  • Roma Cinematography

    'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' and 'Roma' Win LMGI Awards for Motion Pictures

    Two major 2018 releases – actioner “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and critics’ darling “Roma” – were honored for film location work by the Location Managers Guild International at a ceremony this evening at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The 6th Annual LMGI Awards also recognized “Chernobyl” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” [...]

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content