The Master, the latest critically acclaimed slamdunk from director Paul Thomas Anderson has frequently been read as a thinly-veiled biography of Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard.
Even before the cameras started rolling, comparisons were being made. But as Anderson explains in the current issue of Total Film magazine that was never his intention.
“I knew we weren’t making a film about Scientology and I knew it wasn’t a Scientology movie,” he explained.
“You just desperately try to protect yourself – you say, ‘We know what we’re doing, we’re doing a story.’ I’m not dumb, but I was probably a bit naïve not to expect a kind of [reaction]… it’s a word that causes such curiosity in people. People’s eyes light up and they get very interested in it.
“And so we got that thing put on us early on and it stuck. But the last thing I wanted to do was make something provocative.”
The Master opens in the UK on 16 November 2012.
For the full feature on The Master, featuring more from Anderson, Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, pick up the current issue of Total Film magazine, which is out now