"Cannes," reads the cryptic tweet at @annapurnapics, the Twitter account for the production company (Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures) behind Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master." "Uh oh, just tell us now if we should book our ticket…," tweets Anderson-affliliated @cigandredvines.
That, added to The New York Times' lengthy takeout on "The Master" (October 12) running in Wednesday's daily paper, the day before the announcement of the Cannes Festival official selection, led me to suspect that PTA's movie might show up in the Cannes line-up. After all, the combo of auteur Anderson ("There Will Be Blood," which earned eight Oscar nominations in 2008), who has played the fest before, and Cannes perennial distributor Harvey Weinstein, who launched "The Artist" there last year, seemed like a powerful one.
Not so. We will have to wait. Two other Annapurna productions acquired by the Weinstein Co. got into the Cannes competiton: Andrew Dominik's "Killing Them Softly" ("Cogan's Trade"), starring Brad Pitt and John Hillcoat's "Lawless"("Wettest County"), starring Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman and Jessica Chastain.
Budgeted at about $30 million, this version of "The Master" (which was originally developed at Universal Pictures and was then backed by independents Bill Pohlad and Ellison), stars Joaquin Phoenix as Freddie Quell, a hard-drinking Navy vet looking for work back in the early 50s, "before stumbling through the docks of San Francisco to his much stranger destiny," writes the NYT.
Anderson, 41, is finishing up his eagerly awaited 6th movie, which is inspired by the Church of Scientology and also stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as a cult founder not unlike L. Ron Hubbard, Laura Dern and Amy Adams. Anderson worked with famed Scientologist Tom Cruise on the film "Magnolia." "You can read the entire history of the project here," reminds @cigandredvines.