Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Master Not at Universal

At the end of last year news broke surrounding acclaimed director Paul Thomas Anderson's next film "The Master." Universal at the time was awaiting a completed script before they green lit the $35 million dollar project. Yesterday, word came that Universal has passed on the period drama with Philip Seymour Hoffman set to play the lead. Checkout the full scoop after the break...

Timing can be everything and unfortunately for PT Anderson, it was the wrong time for Universal to green light a $35 million dollar production. Universal has had rough start to 2010 with both The Wolfman and Paul Greengrass' newly released "Green Zone." The Wolfman which had a production total of $150 million has not even broke even in worldwide box office sales after nearly 5 weeks. While Green Zone which has a $100 million dollar price tag opened at #2, it only grossed $14 million. In both instances, the box office numbers are not what Universal was expecting. Clearly running a major studio takes some serious cash and when the higher budgeted films end up being not profitable, it becomes very hard for said studio's to endorse properties that may be deemed as a risk.

Why would anyone consider a Paul Thomas Anderson flick a risk? Not to mention one with Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman in the lead. If you'll remember back to when I initially covered "The Master," the film follows a upstart faith-based organization and it's leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman). The film is said to question long established religions, while also poking at newer organizations like Scientology and the Church of Latter Day Saints. Stew on the fact that Anderson's "The Master" could put any of these religions in a negative light and you can begin to see why Universal put their tail between their legs and passed on the film. Especially when combined with their lack of box office success thus far in 2010.

There is a silver lining to this news. Deadline is reporting that River Road Productions are rumored to foot the $35 million dollar price tag to get Anderson's next film made. Which is very good news. All too often in Hollywood, films that do not have franchise potential are quickly baulked at, especially when those projects have larger budgets.

That is not all! Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner is circling the project. If cast, Renner would play a supporting character that becomes a lieutenant in the faith-based organization. The character is described as a drifter who is persuaded into the group and later begins to question its belief system. There is some scuttle to the idea of Renner coming aboard "The Master." The role is said to be a much younger character than Renner and apparently Anderson was not convinced The Hurt Locker star was right for the role. That news was sometime ago and perhaps Anderson has come around to the idea of Renner. More news is sure to follow as "The Master" develops...

Source: Deadline Hollywood