If there's going to be controversy, you might as well get on with it as soon as possible.
Paul Thomas Anderson figures that his new film, "The Master," is probably going to receive some criticism (to put it lightly) from the Church of Scientology, as it's somewhat inspired by the life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. But instead of trying to keep "The Master" under wraps and dealing with the storm when it comes upon the film's theatrical release in October, Anderson is attempting to extend something of an olive branch early on by screening it for one of Scientology's most prominent members: Tom Cruise, according to The Wrap.
Anderson choosing Cruise as his potential celebrity ally comes as no surprise, as the actor received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of self-help sex guru Frank T.J. Mackey in the writer-director's "Magnolia." However, even though they're old pals and all, Cruise still reportedly "has issues" with some parts of the movie.
"The Master," which is still in post production, tells the story of Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the leader of a cult-like movement called The Cause who takes a troubled wandering spirit (Joaquin Phoenix) under his wing as his right-hand man. The similarities to Hubbard include the post-World War II time frame and Dodd's taking a boat trip during which he arrives at a new philosophy and creates a faith-based movement.
Paul Thomas Anderson and the film's distributor, the Weinstein Company, are currently in discussions involving how to best market the film, especially in regards to its thematic and narrative similarities to Scientology. How the church's most prominent members — Tom Cruise being one of them — react to the film will help shape that publicity strategy.
The tone of "The Master" hasn't been revealed, so exactly how Anderson approached this story is unknown. The first teaser trailer for the film was released earlier this week and — like the first teaser for Anderson's last film, "There Will Be Blood" — it's a look at one stand-alone moment in the story without any real context to the big picture.
Expect this one to be shrouded in mystery all the way up to its theatrical release on Oct. 12. Until then, stay tuned for any reports on just what some of Tom Cruise's "issues" might be.