Paul Thomas Anderson's new film, The Master drew expected praise when a secret screening took place a few weeks ago. The film stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Joaquin Phoenix and is about a man who starts a new religion - naturally drawing comparisons to Scientology.
Hoffman has since denied these comparisons are so overt, telling Entertainment Weekly "It’s not the L. Ron Hubbard story… [Scientology] was one of the bigger movements at the time, but there were a lot of movements at that time. There’s nothing about how I’m behaving or talking that echoes [Hubbard]. I thought of a lot of other bigger-than-life personalities, charismatic people like Orson Welles." It's probably wise to not make it the Scientology story - both politically and in terms of a stand-alone film. But by all accounts the comparisons have a basis; there are too many similarities to ignore.
Anderson showed the movie to the most famous Scientologist, Tom Cruise, who was Oscar nominated for his work in his film Magnolia and the actor didn't seem to protest too much. Expect this one to be an awards magnet when it's released towards the end of the year.