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Tom Cruise Has Seen Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master,' Has "Issues" With It

by Oliver Lyttelton
May 22, 2012 7:21 PM
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Paul Thomas Anderson Magnolia

Since rumors started to fly about Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film, "The Master," which was said, and has now pretty much been confirmed, to be about the much-mocked religion of Scientology, there's been one question on the back of many our minds: what does Tom Cruise think about the whole thing? The megastar is, after all, both an Oscar nominee for his supporting turn in Anderson's 1999 film "Magnolia," and a leading light in, and often public spokesman for, the Church of Scientology, the very subject which his former director was tackling with his latest film.

Both Anderson and The Weinstein Company have been at pains to avoid publicly connecting the film with the religion, but it was clear from anyone who saw the footage unveiled at Cannes yesterday what the writer-director is up to with the project. Well, according to The Wrap, 1) Cruise and Anderson are still friends, and in touch, and 2) the filmmaker has actually screened a cut of his film for the actor. And what did Cruise think? Well, he's not exactly been tweeting his reaction or anything, but according to The Wrap's sources, he "has issues" with it. Which is probably to be expected. At the same time, he doesn't seem to have kicked off, or threatened legal action, or defriended Anderson on Facebook, or killed the director with his Xenu mind powers or anything. The implication is it's a kind of agree-to-disagree response.

Even if it's not, it's clear that the Weinstein Company and Anderson are being pretty transparent with the Scientologist community: Harvey W apparently wants to screen the picture to Hollywood's other exponent of the religion, John Travolta. Possibly while giving him a back rub. Supposedly, it's in part to determine whether the studio should avoid mentioning Scientology in their campaign, or play it up. We can't imagine the leadership would be too keen on the latter.

To be honest, we find the whole thing a bit overblown. It's clear at this point that Anderson used founder L. Ron Hubbard as a starting-off point for his film, but it's also unlikely to be a full-on depiction of Scientology (and if he's happy to show it to Cruise, then it's probably not a straight attack, either). And the idea that Harvey Weinstein needs to bow down to the Scientology overlords is laughable; Scientology is bonkers, and secretive, and not necessarily a force for good in the world, but the same can pretty much be said for... well, every religion, and when you start to ascribe conspiratorial powers to them, it's you that starts to look like the crackpot. Anyway, "The Master" hits theaters on October 12th, with or without the Church of Scientology's seal of approval. 

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  • Spike | August 17, 2012 7:35 PMReply

    Dear Oliver,

    Enough of your bigotted invective against Scientology. Don't confuse it with other religions. What ever happened to unbiased journalism? If you think it's bonkers, you undoubtedly believe the asinine, sensationalized stories in the news media (calculated to sell papers) and clearly have not read any books, applied the data therein to your life or anyone else's, have not taken any courses or had any direct experience using any of the procedures in Scientology which were expressly designed to help people. Not a force for good in the world? The hundreds of government agencies, and non-governmental organizations all over the world, would disagree with you, as they are using Scientology, in volume, as a force for good. Bottom line: your story is irresponsible journalism, not worthy of the word "journalism". Wake up call to the Editor of Indiewire: Get responsible, instead of okaying such "reporting".

  • Chaiyz | May 25, 2012 6:55 PMReply

    I have a quick question. Who really cares what Tom Cruise thinks? Sure, I've grown up watching his movies and the freakshow that is his life. I'm not sure why anyone should care. You don't see people getting upset that Mel Gibson doesn't enjoy their films.

    As for the debate over Renner or Phoenix, I'm sure Jeremy could have done this role but it's almost unimaginable after seeing Phoenix's performance. Not knocking J. Renner, he's a very good actor in my opinion and very good with action motives.
    I'm just glad Phoenix is back to work making movies.

  • Mike Moran | May 24, 2012 5:11 PMReply

    The idea that all religions are as warped and evil as Scientology is frankly infantile. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have their nutty/craven proponents but Scientology is run from the top down by lunatics bent on financial gain and total domination of the adherents who are lower on the totem pole. It's a pyramid scheme that's only legal because they sued the IRS into submission. Learn to read.

  • DG | May 22, 2012 11:25 PMReply

    Well conspiracy theories aside I'm happy that Joaquin Phoenix got this role over Renner. Seems like a perfect role for him and I doubt Renner would have brought the same level of intensity to it that Phoenix seems like he will.

  • sp | May 23, 2012 5:00 AM

    DG, I completely disagree. Jeremy Renner has proven he can do unbelievably intense roles in " Dahmer " , " The Town " , & " The Hurt Locker " . Renner easily deserved the coveted " The Counselor " role over Brad Pitt.

  • a. | May 22, 2012 10:40 PMReply

    last paragraph is whack! i love the fact that every indie film buff wants to rip on religion but can't hold a menorah to the weinstiens or the warner brothers, what was bad about jewish brothers and immigrant sons taking hollywood to the next level? and as far as Stevo the Magnificent comments he is right in the pocket of truth.

  • Jordan | May 22, 2012 10:31 PMReply

    "and not necessarily a force for good in the world, but the same can pretty much be said for... well, every religion"

    Some people can use the faith in their religion to help them lead good, honest, and respectable lives, that help them get through their day. You sound just as naive about the individual and his faith as the religious bigots of the world. Not everyone who prays to a God likes to drop bombs on countries or blow themselves up at a crowded market place. This isn't a black or white subject matter. Nice job trying to inject your own view on the matter. Is this an editorial? This isn't proper journalism.

  • Jordan | May 23, 2012 3:17 AM

    Christopher, calm down. I wasn't only attacking or even attacking the Islamic religion. Why don't you go back and read slowly the points I'm trying to make.

    And F, it must be a blog. Because any amateur can start one, I guess.

  • Christopher Jason Bell | May 23, 2012 1:08 AM

    Awesome job at basically saying the Islamic faith is bad and every other religion is good. Because there is absolutely no blood shed tied to ANY OTHER FUCKING RELIGION.

  • f | May 22, 2012 10:39 PM

    Do you know what "not necessarily" means? And it's a blog. If you want "proper journalism," go read Variety.

  • bianca | May 22, 2012 10:06 PMReply

    the poster of this article is a religion hating BIGOT. you claim all religions are secretive and bad for the world? indiewire has fallen so far, it is making tabloids look more credible. In fact, indiewire is now quoting tabloids. LOL!!

  • bianca | May 23, 2012 10:18 AM

    choosing is different from claiming what religions are. knative.

  • Knative | May 23, 2012 8:39 AM

    I don't think hating religion is bigotry. Have you read the bible? Now there is bigotry for you. Besides, believers can just choose to believe in reality and stop being believers if they want to. Religion is an ideology, not something that defines a person for ever. Although stereotyping religious believers is bigoted though.

  • Jesse | May 22, 2012 10:20 PM

    So it's true what they say, people really do use 'LOL' in a non ironic way.

  • Stevo the Magnificent | May 22, 2012 9:58 PMReply

    Have to take issue with your assertion that no good has come from religion, you are right in the literal sense, but real Christianity IS NOT a religion, it's a relationship with the Creator through his one and only Son who died and rose again so we might have everlasting life... you can mock my response here til your heart's content, but it won't change the fact that it's not the Gospel of the Christ but man's often corruption of it that has led to many dark periods in our history (both distant and recent)...

    As far as 'The Master' goes, if Tom Cruise "has issues" with it, there's the seal of approval for me right there, this is going to be GOOD...

  • ELI "cakes" | May 22, 2012 10:15 PM

    You are another one of those people that can't just accept that religion is religion. Belonging to any organization that follows any words of scripture and prays to a higher being is part of a religion. There is no other way around it. Saying that "real Christianity" is not a religion is absolute nonsense. If you don't believe me, ask a Christian. A real one.

  • No | May 22, 2012 9:35 PMReply

    I'm not partial to Scientology in any manner and form, but they know how to crank out some impressive propaganda:

  • cirkusfolk | May 22, 2012 9:33 PMReply

    I too think that John Travolta has bigger issues at hand than to worry about this film.

  • Glass | May 22, 2012 9:12 PMReply

    In my mind, John Travolta's whole life has been reduced to one headline from The Superficial: "So John Travolta May Or May Not Have Molested A Man Over Hamburgers"

  • BuckSwope | May 22, 2012 8:29 PMReply

    Kind of ironic that you are publishing this story, given that your leak and spoiling of the usually secretive Anderson's script is what caused all the controversy in the first place and made the film almost implode (with Cruise "just happening" to pluck away PTA's original star Jeremy Renner and cinematographer Robert Elswit) before Megan Ellison stepped in to the rescue. Leave him alone. A major work by a major director making it to the screen unmolested is more important than IndieWire being able to garner some cheap salacious pageviews.

  • VINCE | May 22, 2012 10:47 PM

    You do know Megan Ellisons brother co-produced Misson Impossible Ghost Protocol and is producing One Shot and Top Gun 2.

  • Wash | May 22, 2012 9:21 PM

    Says the guy posting on an entertainment news site: "don't give me news about entertainment".

    Good word choice with salacious, regardless.

  • hank | May 22, 2012 8:45 PM


  • mpbstereo | May 22, 2012 8:05 PMReply

    I'm actually impressed that PT Anderson had the balls to show this to Cruise, hopefully out of respect for him as a friend and colleague, rather than appeasing to a myth of power.

    Freedom of belief is a wonderful thing, but most depictions in film, regardless of dogma, tend to ruffle a few feathers. Personally, I wonder if that speaks to a slight hypocrisy regarding the concept of faith itself; sure, no one likes to have their beliefs smeared, ridiculed, or cast in a negative light, but if one's faith in their beliefs is strong enough to come out swinging in its defense, shouldn't it be strong enough to render the concept of bad press irrelevant?

    The notion that organized religion is as dependent on PR work as any profit seeking entity in the world is pretty sad.

  • owdl114 | May 22, 2012 7:54 PMReply

    Put it on the poster!

  • jimmiescoffee | May 22, 2012 7:51 PMReply

    well, i love this. a whole fucking lot.

  • alan | May 22, 2012 7:48 PMReply

    it's a full-on depiction of scientology. and of faith. and lack of reason.

  • @puppy | May 23, 2012 10:21 AM

    the absence of religion is why our youth have an identity crisis today and are turning to drugs and many detrimental practices.

    if Tom Cruise wasn't at spiritual peace, his career would've self destructed a long time ago. With a dysfunctional childhood like his, I am surprised he has made it through the last 25 or so years.

  • Mr. Puppy | May 22, 2012 10:18 PM

    In other words, a movie that will scare most Americans. I'm happy to see a movie exposing the B.S. that is religion. Scientology, Christianity, Mormonism, etc.,'s all the same at the end of the day. It wants your money and your women.

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