P.T. Anderson’s latest film delayed indefinitely

This is rather upsetting. Paul Thomas Anderson‘s upcoming project The Master has been delayed indefinitely, as confirmed by stars Jeremy Renner and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The film was to feature Hoffman as the charismatic leader of a cult, whose rise to power would parallel that of Scientology-founder L. Ron Hubbard. Renner was to play a young drifter who falls under the spell of ‘The Master’, only to later question his belief system.

Renner broke the bad news to Total Film. Sadly, the interview exists in print only; The Playlist have transcribed the following:

“I was really bummed about that…It really kind of stalled because when we were rehearsing — Phil, Paul and myself — we kept coming up against a wall that we couldn’t overcome. Or at least Paul couldn’t overcome.”

The Playlist also have a similarly dejecting quote from Hoffman:

“I don’t have any new information [‘The Master’]. I really mean that, I’m not being obtuse. I don’t quite know what that is at the moment, but hopefully I will and hopefully I’ll be part of something soon. It would be great to work with him again.”

When we first discussed the film back in December, Universal were considering whether or not to green-light the US$35 million budgeted feature. They subsequently passed, and it has since been discovered that new backers River Road abandoned the project. The Master was to begin shooting in August.

I suppose the writing was on the wall. We were wondering just how exactly Renner would fit The Master into his increasingly busy schedule.

We could speculate that Anderson had trouble getting funding for an anti-Scientology parable in Hollywood, but that’s too depressing. I’d rather imagine that Anderson – he of the flawless filmography – simply felt that the project wasn’t working, and called it a day. We might one day see The Master reach the light of day, but in the meantime, R.I.P.

Discuss: Seriously though, this must be a Scientology conspiracy.

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