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Paul Thomas Anderson Says The Playlist Named 'The Master'

by The Playlist
September 17, 2012 5:00 PM
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“Really, [the title of the film] was just a process of elimination. In fact, the Internet actually gave it its title first. A version of my script got out online years ago and they referred to it as 'The Master,' even though it didn’t have a title on it or anything," Paul Thomas Anderson recently told the Vancouver Sun. "So we just ended up calling it 'The Master.' We never did find another title for the film.”

Many of you will know, even ask the obsessive PTA-site Cigarettes and Red Vines, the first people to name the project "The Master," was your good ol' Playlist.

"I was kind of like in search of a story, in search of a kind of venue," PTA explained about his super early gestating ideas about the story. "I had a situation where he snuck on a boat -- he ended up on some boat that he didn't belong on -- I had variations on that. And there was this master of ceremonies who wondered, 'Why are you on my boat?'' Messing around. It was all kind of vague like that - I was just sort of messing around writing, and then about four or five years ago, I started becoming more specific, 'What is this? Where are these pieces going?'"

The backstory: In 2010 a very early sketched-out version of the script leaked online, however because the leakee wrote a rather confused review and synopsis of the film, focusing on the minute details, rather than the overarching story, its veracity came quickly into question (many thought it was a film about a drunkard who got onto a ship and met a strange man because of it, the scientology allusions and the grander story was all missed). Curious and eager to see for ourselves, we got our hands on the script and analyzed what was clearly a Paul Thomas Anderson script (albeit one in very rough form) and its similarities to the history and details of Scientology.

For the purposes of the article we referred to the script as "The Master," and well, apparently the name stuck. Who woulda thunk? What's fascinating is how similar that raw sketch was to the final film, even though it clearly grew and changed. But the fundamental basics -- as you can tell by reading the original piece -- are still there in the final product. "The Master," which just shattered the record for the strongest limited release debut in history, is in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles right now. It begins to expand wider this Friday. 

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More: The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson

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  • Johnson | September 21, 2012 2:33 AMReply

    i should just kill myself now.

  • hank | September 18, 2012 3:26 PMReply

    Congratulations, Playlist, on your record breaking, career defining, masterwork, "The Master." You did it.

  • Maya | September 18, 2012 3:38 PM

    Oh Paul, fucking stuff it for once.

  • PTA | September 18, 2012 3:38 PM

    You should be thanking me, not them.

  • Ian | September 18, 2012 12:24 PMReply

    so it's you guys' fault that PTA didn't settle with "Looks Like a Pussy: The Freddie Quell Story"

  • PTA | September 19, 2012 11:59 AM

    Guys, variety just had the name of the character's nickname in quotes. But it wasn't a title.

  • Karen | September 18, 2012 12:16 PMReply

    Variety actually mentioned the title of the project back in 2009, so don't you mean Variety instead of The Playlist in the title?

  • Ron | September 18, 2012 3:22 PM

    lol. They won't respond, it's becoming Indie AICN here.

  • Kevin | September 18, 2012 1:14 PM

    yeah, right here:

  • hackattack | September 18, 2012 2:49 AMReply

    This is why you guys are who you are.

  • jingmei | September 18, 2012 2:10 AMReply

    From this hilarious atmoshphere, we can see the tight tie between the most fucking awesome (hopefully mainly arthouse independent stuff) films and The Playlist. So come on dudes make another one! 8)

  • bob | September 18, 2012 1:56 AMReply

    congratulations on your award winning, record breaking film, playlist!

  • Thompson | September 17, 2012 9:03 PMReply

    That headline is a lie. PTA named his film The Master, you guys didn't name anything.

  • cirkusfolk | September 17, 2012 9:01 PMReply

    Im surprised nobody has mentioned the obvious here. The Master is a terrible title and many fans were hoping it was just an Internet name and not the official title all the way up to the release of the first trailer. So uh yea, I guess you can be proud of this, but I wouldn't.

  • Alan | September 17, 2012 9:33 PM

  • Roofbeam | September 17, 2012 7:40 PMReply

    "[A]ffectionately being dubbed 'The Master' by many..." is the same thing as "[A]ffectionately being dubbed 'The Master' by The Playlist staffers..."? Yeah, he definitely gives you credit in that interview when he says "They" and "The Internet."

  • Gabriel | September 17, 2012 11:53 PM

    He doesn't mention The Playlist, but they were the first to refer to it as The Master. Then everyone else followed suit.

  • Roofbeam | September 17, 2012 7:51 PM

    Can you site where he says "The Playlist" in the interview? Couldn't find it. Or are you just assuming that he was talking about you? In which case, you should probably change the title of this post to reflect the fact that it's fanboy conjecture.

  • Kindred Spirit | September 17, 2012 7:51 PM

    You guys are SOOOO mean to The Playlist!!!

  • R.U. Frigginkiddingme | September 17, 2012 7:32 PMReply

    Yay! Let's pat ourselves on the back for violating journalistic ethics and common decency by leaking and reviewing (!) an early draft script by a notoriously secretive director and painting a huge target on his back with a vengeful cult that caused his original cast and d.p. to drop out and the project's financing to get derailed at its original studio. Hooray for us!

  • JD | September 18, 2012 1:42 AM

    They lost Elswit and Renner because financing didn't come together in time and they had scheduling conflicts. The Playlist had nothing to do with it.

  • d | September 17, 2012 9:57 PM

    The Playlist didn't leak the script. They just reviewed it.

  • R.U. Frigginkiddingme | September 17, 2012 9:53 PM

    Um... no. More like, ask Bob Woodward how he'd feel about someone posting a review of his rough manuscript before his publisher decided whether or not to publish it.

  • Cribbster | September 17, 2012 9:44 PM

    There's nothing journalistically unethical about leaking a script like that. There's no agreement between The Playlist and PTA. You're alright to say its not nice or indecent, but it's no violation of journalistic ethics. Ask Bob Woodward. Every time he writes a book, someone gets their hands on an early copy and writes a review of it before it comes out. It's only unethical if you've agreed to an embargo.

  • Kindred Spirit | September 17, 2012 7:25 PMReply

    Isn't Cigs and Red Vines co-managed by a Playlist staffer? In any case, even though all the naysayers below are trying to ruin your game... I BELIEVE in The Playlist like I BELIEVE in PTA. Yeah ya'll dudes are awesome!! And again, David O. Russell can STFU.

  • cirkusfolk | September 17, 2012 6:36 PMReply

    This happens quite often when works of art in any form hit the net without an official title. For instance there was an old Radiohead song that they only played in concert and the fans dubbed it "Nude"...when it finally came out on an album 10 years later, they kept the name. But on the otherhand, the Terrance Malick film To the Wonder was given the name The Burial, and we all know that didn't stick.

  • Paul W.S. Anderson | September 17, 2012 6:02 PMReply

    Seriously guys, get over it! The Playlist called my latest "Apocalyptic Malevolence At Its Most Tedious & Banal," and nobody made a stink! Where are my defenders/detractors/lovers/haters? At least I have better BO than PTA, in more ways than one ;)

  • Marko | September 17, 2012 5:57 PMReply

    So the "many" referred to in the original article about the script was just the staff at the Playlist?

  • PTA | September 17, 2012 6:10 PM

    Actually, yes, that's correct.

  • Tom | September 17, 2012 5:44 PMReply

    Very cool, guys.

  • gc | September 17, 2012 5:42 PMReply

    Aww cute.

  • concerned citizen kane | September 17, 2012 5:35 PMReply

    to quote abed,


  • Um | September 17, 2012 5:29 PMReply

    Literally, in the old Playlist article you linked to, you say that the film was already "affectionately dubbed The Master by many" before you even wrote about it.

  • bob robertson | September 18, 2012 3:18 PM

    And Variety had already called it as such in 2009 as an above poster wrote. Playlist, why so many continual fuckups? I noticed you guys deleted my comment on the Cianfrance interview and edited his comment to get rid of mistakenly referring to Marion Crane as "Mary and Crane." Very smooth.

  • d | September 17, 2012 9:53 PM

    OK, either of you want to find an earlier instance of the script being called The Master? Then we can settle this.

  • Jared | September 17, 2012 5:36 PM

    Yeah, this is incorrect. They were far from the first to name it that, but the DO get credit for stealing it from others and publishing it, I suppose.

  • Glass | September 17, 2012 5:28 PMReply

    Hell yes, Playlist. Hell yes.

  • Benjamin | September 17, 2012 5:20 PMReply

    God forbid a website devoted to cinema is proud of the fact that their journalism contributed to the naming of a modern auteur's new film. This rules.

  • Rohan | September 17, 2012 5:18 PMReply

    PTA is awesome. He's kind and he is unpredictable. It's funny how THE PLAYLIST bought this whole thing. Ha! Ha! I am glad that Playlist is not asking PTA to put their name on the end credit. (Thanks to 'The Playlist' for the title: The Master). Ha!

  • Christopher Bell | September 17, 2012 5:15 PMReply

    haters gonna htae

  • Christopher Bell | September 17, 2012 5:15 PM

    Oh it's perfect!!

  • Don | September 17, 2012 5:08 PMReply

    Ugh, this post is worse than Variety's "Scoops" leaderboard. Do you guys want a blowjob from PTA for this?

  • Almost | September 17, 2012 5:13 PM

    ha. nothing is worse than that. :)

  • Hal | September 17, 2012 5:04 PMReply

    More masturbatory than the actual film.

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