It’s been a pretty poorly kept secret that P.T. Anderson’s upcoming film The Master is about a man who starts a pseudo-religious organization that is loosely based on Scientology. While the religion in the film is called “The Cause”, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character reportedly has more than a few things in common with Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, including the fact that they both have wives named Mary-Sue. Rumour has it that Anderson recently called upon his former Magnolia star Tom Cruise to screen an early cut of The Master and offer his thoughts. As it turns out, Cruise was reportedly not pleased about one line in particular that implied Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character was “making it up as he goes along.” Cruise asked him to take out the line but Anderson refused… so why did he ask for his approval in the first place?
Most of Tom Cruise’s image problems in recent years have come from his ties to the Church of Scientology, and with his recent divorce from Katie Holmes, Scientology is once again being seen in a negative light. Since The Church has always being very aggressive in silencing its critics, I suspect The Master will meet more opposition before it hits theatres in October. But isn’t it wrong to criticize someone’s religious beliefs? It’s unclear if the movie is openly critical and how much of it is really based on Scientology, but Hoffman’s character certainly seems to be portrayed as a villain. What do you think? Is P.T. Anderson going too far here? Should he be more respectful of the beliefs of others or should his film be protected as a work of art? Is there a difference between Scientology and other religions? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.