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From Script To Screen: Your Guide To All The Deleted/Missing Scenes In 'The Master'

by Cory Everett
January 9, 2013 12:04 PM
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Master S2S: Office
In the film, we cut to The Master and Freddie in the desert digging up the manuscript without any context or explanation, but in the screenplay, the Phoenix trip is set up as a mission for Freddie. When Freddie returns to the house, he is confronted by the group to stop boozing. Once he agrees, Master decides to send him to Phoenix to help protect them from potential dark forces like “CIA, Russians, Catholic Church, [etc.].” The Master tells Freddie that once he arrives he should dig up a box containing “valuables, personal and confidential” which is buried underneath the house. (In the film, The Master and Freddie dig up these up together in the desert). In the screenplay, we follow a newly-sober Freddie on the flight to Phoenix as he begins to detox, sweating and shaking.

When he arrives, he finds that The Master’s “large ranch-style home” has been ransacked. There are “holes in the walls, sockets ripped out [and] floor boards ripped up” which means either The Master has coordinated this himself (which seems excessive even for a showboat of his caliber) or he’s not completely paranoid after all. Freddie digs up the mystery box (supposedly containing The Master’s latest manuscript) from under the house and takes it to the bank to deposit in a safety deposit box. At the bank, Freddie calls The Master to tell him about the break-in and The Master suggests that Val could be responsible or perhaps just some “crazed lone lunatic for all we know. Certain atomic agencies wouldn't mind a crack at it, I’m sure.”

Master S2S: Flames
After the break-in at the house, The Master tells Freddie to head to a local motel to keep his prized possession safe. After checking in, we see a brief sequence where Freddie imagines himself opening the box and flames burst forth from inside, engulfing his head and body before “blowing his head off.” We cut back to reality where he continues to detox, sweating and throwing up throughout the night. Flames erupting from the suitcase can be glimpsed in a deleted scene in the film, though Freddie appears to be in an office, not a hotel. In the morning, Freddie leaves his hotel room only to catch a mysterious figure lurking nearby.

In the one major action sequence in the screenplay, Freddie chases after this figure “in full-ready-for-anything-mode,” looking in rooftops, alleys, etc. before finally giving up and depositing the box at the bank. After this, we see Freddie speaking to a group of 20 or so followers about the Universe Process Congress of the Cause, handing out flyers and doing a radio promo (as seen in the film) before meeting The Master and co. who have arrived at the airport. By this point, Freddie is finished detoxing, he's now “clean cut and wearing a nice suit.” Back at the house, Freddie gives The Master the key to the safety deposit box, and The Master informs him that his son-in-law Clark has been sent away to Denver for a “secret mission.”

In the film, Freddie gets into a fight with Bill White after he suggests that The Master's new book might've been better as a pamphlet after the convention in Phoenix. In the script, Bill White arrives at The Master’s home in Phoenix and finds Freddie on the front porch. Bill asks why he hadn’t been invited to the Phoenix congregation and begins to get agitated about the workings of the organization. “You know what this all is? Huh? It’s mental cruelty. That’s what it is," Bill fumes, explaining he feels scammed by the Cause for continually having to pay more money to get to the next step. (This moment is one of many that have been called out for explicitly recalling the S-word). "It’s just mental cruelty to invent all these new ideas and never follow through on it and just keep adding and subtracting and I gotta pay for this and that level and more and more... and Book II’s coming. All the answers... if you had that, it’s no good ‘cause here’s the new thing...and noh don’t need that... that’s old... this is new.” As Bill goes to leave, Freddie attacks him and the two get into a fist fight much like in the film.

Master S2S: Head
In the screenplay, The Master’s speech at the convention in Phoenix is nearly identical to the version in the finished film but the scene plays quite differently on the page. In the screenplay, as Freddie becomes disillusioned with The Master's speech, he approaches the stage and cuts off The Master’s head. Well, technically it’s a daydream but would’ve still been a pretty jaw-dropping moment in the context of the story. After The Master rattles on about the secret to the universe being “laughter,” Freddie imagines himself walking up to The Master, pulling out a large saber and cutting his head clean off as it rolls out into the audience. Along the way Anderson must’ve gotten shy about some of the more flamboyant moments in the script and stuck to a more grounded direction. Though we can't imagine the film would've been better with this sequence, we’d still be fascinated to know how close this came to being filmed.

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More: Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master

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  • ben | January 23, 2013 10:59 AMReply

    Does anyone know what the scene from the trailer with Freddie holding the gun is from?

  • reader | January 10, 2013 2:21 PMReply

    The article forgets to mention the wonderful monologue the Master delivers to Freddie in their final "break-up" scene. The one about sharing a past life during the Prussian war. Great, great stuff. IMHO, the script is far better than the film, which peters out right after the Window-to-the-Wall sequence. The third act could've used the suspense that the script had -- and the NYC stuff would've been a nice addition as well. It's too bad. I wanted to like the film, but I only liked about 2/3rds of it. And I saw it 3 times in the theater on 65mm.

  • rudy | January 9, 2013 9:56 PMReply

    I was bummed that Freddie did not say what I thought was the best line in the script which went something like: "This is booze, there are secrets in liquor".

    also I really loved the Cousin Bob sequence, as a New Yorker I was a bit bummed out that P.T Anderson didnt really get a chance to shoot in NY. I would of liked to have seen how he would of tackled making NYC look like 1951 and just the sheer bliss of finally seeing how Anderson and Mikai would of lensed it. I also loved that line Cousin Bob said: "I've been licking pussy all summer". It was to be shot in the Village and would have featured two girls that resemble Barbra Steisiand.

    - also I remember a great line in There Will Be Blood that had Daniel saying in the scene were he witnesses his fake brother's inebriated state with disgust, Daniel mentions something to effect of his cock being dead and rambles a bit about that and how H.W is not is biological son.

  • p-dub | January 10, 2013 12:02 PM

    1) The line about their being secrets in the booze is in the film.

    2) Are you referring to the script for There Will Be Blood because those lines certainly aren't in the film? In the sequence where he sees his "brother" getting drunk and asking for money, Daniel doesn't say a word. He just watches in the corner, dwelling in his anger.

  • Noany | January 9, 2013 1:39 PMReply

    hmmm. this isn't exactly related BUT: Has anyone noticed that in the soundtrack the bit of dialogue during the song sung by Madiesen Beaty that the male who speaks sounds kinda like Jeremy Renner??? He was the first choice for Freddie and worked before it fell off and then Phoenix came in... Can anyone else hear this?

  • Michael | January 9, 2013 1:31 PMReply

    Great article. Thanks for all the effort in putting this together.

  • yer | January 9, 2013 12:27 PMReply

    The final film is so much better. The script had a lot more cheesy genre elements at play like the Hardy boy chase for gold with his cousin and the paranoid chase after he retrieves the Master's box. Anderson made a great decision to not separate the The Master and Freddy for more than what was necessary as well as making Freddy not quit his alcoholism.

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