As PTA’s New Film Circles Move to MGM, What We Know About His Ninth Feature

Paul Thomas Anderson's period-set 1970s comedy-drama remains shrouded in mystery.
Paul Thomas Anderson arrives at the 90th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon at The Beverly Hilton hotel on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Paul Thomas Anderson
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Reports have emerged that Paul Thomas Anderson’s ninth movie, a comedy-drama set in the 1970s in the San Fernando Valley, is moving from Focus Features to MGM. While MGM declined to comment to IndieWire on the report that first emerged in Deadline, the production is said to be leaving Universal-owned specialty label Focus Features, which propelled Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2017 romantic drama “Phantom Thread” to six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture. The move is said to be a part of rebranded MGM’s interest in auteur-driven films.

The untitled upcoming project is still in pre-production, though Anderson is said to have finished writing the movie, which revolves around a high school student who is also an exchange student. It will be the fourth film that Paul Thomas Anderson has set in the San Fernando Valley, the Los Angeles area where “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia,” and “Punch-Drunk Love” unfolded in glorious color. The upcoming film is also Paul Thomas Anderson’s sixth period film, and his third trip to the 1970s after “Inherent Vice,” also set in Los Angeles, and “Boogie Nights.” This is said to be an ensemble piece, with multiple interlocking storylines. Anderson is also producing through his Ghoulardi Film Company banner.

The project was first announced in November 2019, when Anderson scored a $2.5 million California tax credit, among 13 projects to do so, including Damien Chazelle’s Hollywood period film “Babylon” for Paramount Pictures. While production on Anderson’s movie might be delayed, he hasn’t strayed from directing, most recently releasing several music videos to accompany pop-rock trio HAIM’s new album “Women in Music Pt. III.” The most recent video was “The Steps.”

Anderson briefly returned to theaters last year for the exclusive, one-night IMAX release of the Thom Yorke music video short film “Anima,” a mind-bending visual piece now streaming on Netflix.

As the deal on Anderson’s film reportedly comes to a close, MGM is busy prepping to finally (maybe) release the latest film in the James Bond franchise, “No Time to Die,” on November 20 after being pushed off its original April date. Rumor has it the film could be moved entirely off the 2020 calendar.

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