‘Phoenix locked’ ……..exciting news!
EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company has won a quiet but fevered bidding battle for worldwide distribution rights to the untitled next film by Paul Thomas Anderson. The film begins production June 13, with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix so far set to star. Megan Ellison is financing. It is Anderson’s first trip behind the camera since There Will Be Blood.
Hoffman and Phoenix are locked. As for the actresses, I’m told that Anderson is eyeing such actresses as Madisen Beaty (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) for a role, with Amy Adams, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Lena Endre and Laura Dern also mentioned as actresses Anderson is interested in. The auction was held at CAA headquarters late last week, with Fox Searchlight was also squarely in the mix.
This is the project that Anderson has worked on for a long time, once under the title The Master. He has greatly overhauled the script and now, Hoffman stars as a man who returns after witnessing the horrors of WWII and tries to rediscover who he is in post-war America. He creates a belief system, something that catches on with other lost souls. The film is fully financed by Ellison’s Annapurna banner. At a time when the implosion of the indie film marketplace made pricey auteur films so hard to finance, Ellison has emerged as a something of a godsend to the small group of auteurs she is working with. She’s enabled Anderson to make the movie at or near the $35 million budget the film was going to cost back when Universal stepped away.
The deal gives TWC a big title to bring to the Cannes Film Festival this week. More to come…
After looking rather dead last September, Paul Thomas Anderson’s untitled religious drama was resurrected this past February when producer Megan Ellison (True Grit) and her Annapurna Productions came on board to finance the picture. Deadline now reports that Joaquin Phoenix has been confirmed play Freddie Sutton, an alcoholic drifter who becomes right-hand man to Lancaster Dodd, a charismatic intellectual known as The Master (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who’s been attached to the film from the beginning). Earlier drafts of the story were overtly based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, but that has reportedly changed. According to Deadline, “[Anderson] has greatly overhauled the script and now, Hoffman stars as a man who returns after witnessing the horrors of WWII and tries to rediscover who he is in post-war America. He creates a belief system, something that catches on with other lost souls.”
Deadline is also reporting that Anderson is now considering actresses Madisen Beaty (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) Amy Adams, Lena Endre (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and Laura Dern for roles in the film. Hit the jump for more details on this exciting production.
In addition to the exciting casting news surrounding the film, Deadline reports that The Weinstein Company has picked up the worldwide distribution rights to the film. Due to its subject matter, the movie is likely to be controversial, which makes it a good fit for TWC, a company that doesn’t shy away from controversy and whenever possible uses controversy in its marketing.
Production on the film is set to begin June 13th, which seems like it would automatically nix Adams from the film since she’ll be busy playing Lois Lane in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. But even if the movie doesn’t get Adams, it still has two strong lead actors and the brilliant Paul Thomas Anderson at the helm for what is easily one of my most-anticipated films.