Well, it was only a matter of time before the Scientologists caught on to the not-so-coincidental similarities that surround the plot of the Weinstein Company’s Oscar baited The Master. So far there’s been huge buzz surrounding the performances by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix for their controversial turn in Paul Thomas Anderson’s new flick. The positive reaction has been a nice boost for the film, but now it seems as though the Scientologists have a few choice words over the parallels it has with the Church’s creator L. Ron Hubbard.
According to The New York Post:
“[C]hurch members have been ‘inundating’ the distributor, The Weinstein Co., with ‘strange calls’ criticizing the picture. Members may also be planning further strategy to discredit the film following the release next week. These plans could include a dedicated Scientology-funded ad campaign, promoting the church’s message wherever The Master is being advertised.”
The film, which takes place in the 1950s, tells the story of two men who strike up an unusual bond. When director Paul Thomas Anderson was asked about his inspiration of Hoffman’s character, he said the film is not a Scientology movement but rather a film about the characters’ relationship. Hoffman also agreed stating, “It’s not the L. Ron Hubbard story.”
Another source noted that Weinstein Company had to hire “extra security” because the office was inundated with phone calls. Of course, this isn’t the first time Scientologists have used power in numbers for malevolence. The church has a long history of harassment while defending themselves against perceived attacks from outsiders.
Do you think this will help or hurt The Master‘s chances of receiving good press?