“The Master” is Paul Thomas Anderson’s sixth feature film. “Hard Eight” was his first. For each of the movies between them, Anderson made a promotional appearance on “Charlie Rose;” four interviews about four films over the course of a decade. Watching them all offers not only a lengthy peek into the director’s creative process, it also provides one way to measure his evolution as a filmmaker — and as a man examining and discussing his own work.
Anderson first appeared on “Charlie Rose” in conjunction with “Boogie Nights.” In Part 1, he talks about writing parts for certain actors and how he came to cast Mark Wahlberg, who was not his first choice for the role of Dirk Diggler:
In Part 2, PTA reveals the origins of the Rollergirl character and explains how he would teach a film school class:
Did you catch the part where Anderson reveals that he’s just 27 years old at the time? Have you stopped crying yet? Okay good, let’s move on to “Magnolia.” In Part 1, PTA explains the origins of the title and finally answers the question of what the movie is ultimately about:
In Part 2, Anderson discusses Robert Altman’s influence on his work, the role of Aimee Mann’s music in his writing, and what he’s trying to say about television:
Next came “Punch-Drunk Love.” For this interview, Anderson appeared alongside star Adam Sandler. In Part 1, Anderson explains why he wanted to make an “Adam Sandler movie” and Sandler reveals that Judd Apatow was one of his inspirations for the character of Barry Egan (a fact Apatow later confirmed on Twitter):
In Part 2, Sandler talks about why he wanted to work with Anderson and Anderson discusses casting Emily Watson:
Last, but certainly not least, is “There Will Be Blood” with Anderson and star Daniel Day-Lewis. In Part 1, Anderson talks about how hard it was to finance the project and the logistics of faking early oil production for the screen:
On to Part 2, comparing Plainview’s story to science-fiction and describing the process by which DDL found Daniel Plainview’s distinctive voice:
In Part 3, Day-Lewis reveals what he likes about Daniel Plainview and the trio compare the character’s arc to the life of a politician:
Next up is Part 4, in which they discuss the production’s rough start and “They Will Be Blood”‘s theme of fighting families:
And finally Part 5; examining Jonny Greenwood’s score and guessing what happens to Plainview’s son after the events of the film:
That last interview is about seven years after the one for “Magnolia” where Anderson says that movie contains everything he’ll ever want to say about the subject of fathers and sons and what families do to us, and yet there he is with “There Will Be Blood” returning to the idea of “fighting families.” I find it fascinating to compare the 27-year-old in that first interview with the 35-year-old in the last one. He’s the same guy, but he’s changed too. He’s older and wiser, but he’s still exploring the same themes and ideas in film after film. I can’t wait to see what he and Rose have to say about “The Master.”
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