‘The Master’ full-length trailer is chock full of startling, ballsy similarities to CO$

Joaquin Phoenix

Paul Thomas Anderson’s rumored anti-Scientology film, The Master, has already been tickling the anti-CO$ and serious film audiences with two teaser trailers, one featuring Joaquin Phoenix’s lost disciple character and the other one showcasing Philip Seymour Hoffman’s charismatic yet menacing movement leader. Both trailers have established that the movie is set in the 1950s and revolves around a faith-based organization that is pretty much Scientology by a different name, “The Cause.” I especially appreciate the second trailer’s dialogue, including “I am a writer, a doctor, a nuclear physicist, a theoretical philosopher, and above all, I am a man. A hopelessly inquisitive man, just like you,” which is totally L. Ron Hubbard under a different name, Lancaster Dodd. We’ve also heard that Anderson screened the movie for Tom Cruise, and Tom “had issues” with the movie. And for good reason! Check out the full-length trailer below, and you’ll see why Tom’s been throwing his cute little lift-throwing tantrums:

Joaquin Phoenix Philip Seymour Hoffman

First off, PTA throws out a very clear signal that Joaquin’s on a ship (as in the origins of the Sea Org) as he and his disciples are told “upon your shoulders rests the responsibility of a post-war world.” Joaquin is further seduced by both Hubbard Dodd (metaphorically) and various women (literally), and then things grow more sinister with a critic saying “Good science, by definition, allows for more than one opinion, otherwise you merely have the will of one man, which is the basis for a cult.” Dodd’s wife is heard saying, “The only way to defend ourselves is to attack.” Still others tell the disciple, “He’s making all this up as he goes along, don’t you see that?” and “You are an everlasting spirit.” There’s more creepy footage of Joaquin’s character in the jail cell and also riding motorcycles with Dodd (a veiled reference to Cruise and Miscavige’s bro rides?) before he tries to make his escape.

Naturally, this trailer is only a taste of what is to come. The Daily Beast has provided a comprehensive chart (written by those who have read the full screenplay) of many, many similarities between PTA’s rendering of “The Cause” and Scientology. Just to name a few tidbits — alien invasions, prenatal memories, auditing (by a different name) and billion-year contracts — they’re all in there. If the CO$ thinks that they need a new PR strategy after Katie Holmes blew their roof off, well, they haven’t seen anything yet. This movie is sure to be an event.

Joaquin Phoenix

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Joaquin Phoenix

Screencaps from YouTube; poster courtesy of AllMoviePhoto

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78 Responses to “‘The Master’ full-length trailer is chock full of startling, ballsy similarities to CO$”

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  1. carrie says:

    the director is a Stanley Kubrick fan

    • Genevieve says:

      Should be interesting to see BOTH of the tiny terrors of CO$ react to this movie.

      Am I the only one who’s noticed that CO$ is controlled by a bunch of little midget guys with REALLY pronounced Napolean’s Syndrome?

      • carrie says:

        CoS is for the closeted gays with a Napoleon syndrome (i hope i don’t sound homophobic)

      • aussie says:

        my friend did ask that they can choose any body, then why would tom and dm have chosen the ones they have :)

    • ALLY says:

      @Carrie: elaborate! What shots are you comparing? I’m interested — it does look gorgeously framed/shot. Though usually that’s thanks to the cinematographer, more than the director.

      It does look upsetting, but excellent. We’ll find out how powerful COS still is in Hollywood, based on how many Oscar noms this gets.

  2. Eve says:

    This looks amazing.

    Check out the full-length trailer below, and you’ll see why Tom’s been throwing his cute little lift-throwing tantrums

    LMAO! (I really pictured him doing that).

    • Jill says:

      Your avatar is perfection. He makes me giggle like a little girl whenever I see Hader do that skit. And I normally loathe giggling.

      Anyway, yes, this looks so great! CoS or no, I think it’s just going to be a very well-acted film. Can’t wait.

  3. Cathy says:

    I’ve always liked Joaquin Phoenix. He’s a good actor, and kinda cute to.

    • Issa says:

      Just from the little clips we have seen, I see an Oscar nomination for Phoenix.

    • RocketMerry says:

      Yes he is! An amazing actor, and Issa, I so hope this movie wins big at the Oscars. Can you imagine, the kind of diss that would be from Hollywood to the co$?

      The people involved in this movie are just beautiful, I want to plant a huge kiss on their foreheads, granma style! :)

      • Issa says:

        Daniel-Day Lewis as Lincoln will probably be his biggest competition. However, just from the clips alone, Phoenix looks like he’s knocked it out of the park. He has retuned with a probable Oscar performance. He’s one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood. PTA is magnificent & a director with purpose. He has the guts to do it!

    • Eve says:

      So happy to see my fellow celebitches showing love for Phoenix :) .

      He’s an absolutely brilliant actor.

      • I Choose Me says:

        Yes he is. I get chills when he’s onscreen. Between him and Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams, I absolutely cannot wait to see this movie. *eager-beaver dance*

      • Lizzie K says:

        Yep, yep, love Joaquin and LOVE Phillip Seymour Hoffman!!!

        Plus a full-length, popular audience take-down of a bunch of nasty-nutties!

        Coming after the Katie-bomb, this should be epic!

  4. Kloops says:

    This is now a must-see-in-the-theatre movie for me!

    • TrustMeOnThis says:

      +1 – I can hardly wait! This looks really well done.

      And the postgame show should be pretty entertaining too! I’m curious if they are hassling all of the reporters covering them now, or if they just don’t have enough goons for that since there is so much coverage for them to keep up with.

  5. MerryHappy says:

    Wow. That looks good.

  6. Sara says:

    Phoenix was himself in a cult as a child, The Children of God. No wonder he and his brother were so messed up.

    • Kaboom says:

      That will be a formidable defense when CoS is trying to come after him for participating in the movie.

    • Mooshi says:

      I didn’t know he was in a cult. Interesting how that experience may show when he plays his character.
      I think I might go see this one.

    • Issa says:

      Think its part of the reason for River’s drug addiction. A cult that produced child porn. How could it not effect your life? Joaquin could be somewhat immune to CO$ attacks. Maybe the reason why PTA chose him to play the ‘follower’ part.

    • Jordan says:

      I had forgotten about that. He knows first hand how a cult can eff up your life. The CoS won’t be able to intimidate him, plus the director has personal experience with CoS, right? They won’t be able to shift the conversation away from them after this movie comes out.

  7. Sumodo1 says:

    I read about this movie at the time the Cruise-Holmes divorce was clogging the blogosphere. Cannot WAIT to see it.

  8. RHONYC says:


    i can’t wait to see this. :-o

  9. aussie says:

    Intervention H/wood style perhaps?
    One can only hope :)

    Cannot wait to see it

  10. Anne de Vries says:


    Dear people who have to work within physical reach of David Miscavige – blow. Just get the hell out of there. I can only imagine what sort of abuse must be raining down on you right now. There is help for you on the outside, and many ex-Sea Org people are well and happy now.

    • Eve says:

      Dear people who have to work within physical reach of David Miscavige – blow. Just get the hell out of there.

      Unfortunately — as we’ve read on that article from The New Yorker — many simply CAN’T. They’re simply not allowed to leave (that Gold Base place, for instance).

      • RHONYC says:

        Eve, your avatar is bonkers! i love it. :lol:

      • Eve says:

        Right? Stefon is the hottest thing on TV :) .

      • Anne de Vries says:

        People in the hole physically can’t leave – it has bars on the windows. But those aren’t the people working for Miscavige – those are the people he wanted out of the way but couldn’t allow to walk free.
        For many others the bonds are psychological – the vast majority of Sea Org people could find an opportunity to walk out if they wanted to.

        The problem is that for most of them that would mean leaving behind everything they own, everybody they know, and everything they’ve believed in for so long. They’d face heavy pressure to return, and if they refused, harassment.

        If any Sea Org members read this and want help leaving, call 1-866-XSEAORG
        There’s also a support site: http://exseaorg.com/

  11. birdie says:

    Thank god Hollywood is not afraid of this cult! I can see Joaquin or Philip Seymor getting stalked by the Co$.

  12. Gine says:

    I can’t wait to see this.

  13. Amelia says:

    “The only way to defend ourselves is to attack” is what got me.
    I wouldn’t miss this for the world.

  14. Camilla says:

    I feel sorry for them because they signed these 1 billion light years contracts and now I’m not sure if they will last even 1 light year.

    • teya says:

      A light year is a measurement of distance.

      • Camilla says:

        I don’t think it makes any difference. Don’t you think? Billion years here or there.

      • Belle says:

        I think the contracts are for a billion years…. but it doesn’t matter, a billion years, a million years, 10 billion light-years. The point is that those contracts are unrealistic (not to mention ridiculous), and only enforceable through fear and intimidation tactics by Co$.

  15. gee says:

    Joaquin Phoenix can. get. it. He is so hot when he’s cleaned up and not covered in crazy.

  16. mytbean says:

    Oh I’m sooo glad JP is back! He doesn’t just say the lines – you can see the thoughts playing out in his face.

    I especially like his expression change when he is hearing the line “He’s making all this up as he goes along, don’t you see that?”

    I Can’t Wait To See This!! :D

  17. Elizabeth says:

    I love PSH in everything, so I see him doing a great job on this. Even the portrayal of a true villian requires three dimensional acting to draw you in to what the character is. PSH will be great in this. And Joaquin looks pretty good in the trailer too.

  18. Feebee says:

    Wow… good to see JP back and opposite PSH!! Film due for an October 12 release date. The main course after the Cruise-Holmes divorce appetiser?

  19. Issa says:

    Perfect! Perfect trailer. This is the one movie i’m excited about seeing this fall. Can’t wait!!!

  20. Tiffin says:

    I am SO excited for this movie. PSH and JP are two of my favorite actors!

    Roll on October 12!!

  21. Dimebox says:

    Fabulous acting and an important story. The chart by the Daily Beast is incredible for showing all the similarities between the PSH character and LRH; and between the two cults. What a perfect time for this movie to come out. I hope it finishes off the cult of Scientology.

  22. MK yarwood says:

    Nice, shiver-inducing poster too.

  23. Bubbaang says:

    I’m definitely going to see this movie. What great timing, especially after the Cruise- Holmes divorce. I hope the similarities between this film and real life will get more public support for those trying to get their family members out.

  24. Kim says:

    Mmmm I’m so glad Joaquin is hot again. Though, who am I kidding, I still would’ve hit it so hard when he was super crazy.

  25. Mira says:

    PTA, PSH and JP! Can it get any better? Striking off days on my calender…

  26. Dee Cee says:

    Well he may have gone off to be crazy out of his mind for a while .. but he’s back loaded gun’s a blazin’

    • Jordan says:

      I would love it if that was all apart of the plan. Joaquin having to go a little crazy in order to play this role without any interference from the CoS. You know DM probably heard about it being made but when he found out that Joaquin was involved, laughed and thought, “No one will go see on of his movies again. He’s crazier than we are!”

      • IzzyB says:

        I laughed so hard at your last line!

        Don’t you wish you could be a fly on the wall sometimes.

        They must have underestimated this film because it looks amazing and the Cruise Holmes divorce will make promotion incredibly easy.

  27. TG says:

    Very interesting that Katie made the Great Escape and only a few months later this awesome movie is coming out showing even more creapiness. And why the heck would tom thumb get to see a screening? Why would the Director give a rats a** about tiny tom’s opinion. And I love that the name of the cult The Cause and Co$ are pronounced the same way. Definitely will be seeing this one in the theatre. It is weird that it is tiny men with napoleon complexes who all appear to be hiding their sexuality. Weird.

    • Dumaurier says:

      PTA directed TC in Magnolia maybe they’ve remained working friends? After this, I don’t know how anyone can NOT think this movie is based on Scientology.

    • IzzyB says:

      What better way to promote your film than to get one of the most famous cult members on the planet ranting about it and how it’s basically a portrayal of his cult?

      This is a genius PR move.

      • Aotearovian says:

        Not to mention the fact that Tom Cruise is going to be promoting Jack Reacher for, I believe, a December release date – so every single interviewer is going to be asking him about Katie and The Master.

        As someone who works in PR, I would advise him to get his key messages locked down :)

  28. Emily says:

    This is the first movie in years I’ve been at all excited about. I can’t wait.

  29. sunmoonstars says:

    I absolutely love Joaquin Phoenix and am so glad to see him without that stupid beard and horrible hair lol.

  30. Belle says:

    Love Amy Adams too!

  31. eric says:

    Wow, Oscar for everyone, especially Phillip Seymour Hoffman!

  32. tru tru says:

    I cannot WAIT, 2 of my favorite actors in a movie about something so sinister…

    I got a woody and I am a lady, CHARGED to say the least, I know my 2 men will bring it!!

    I cannot wait for this to come out!!

    thx CB for posting the extended trailer!
    I’m even more hyped and “wiggly”

  33. claire says:

    Oh how I love Joaquin! Can’t wait to see this – he’s an amazing actor. Sometimes it’s hard for me not to think about River, when I watch Joaquin, and think about what brilliant parts we also would have seen him play. :(

  34. Snowpea says:

    If I could get just one wish, I would ask to be locked in a room with Joaquin for a week.

    I think he’s the hottest man alive. Smouldering, dangerous, intelligent, bizarre and violently sexy.

    Oh and he’s a really good actor. I cannot wait to see this film.

  35. Jackie O says:

    perfect timing!

  36. lucy2 says:

    I can’t wait to see this, it looks so good, and the cast is excellent.

    PTA must be so happy with how the timing played out, this will get so much more attention now with all the focus on CO$.

    Anyone else think the motorcycle scene was a little Top Gun dig? :D

  37. erika says:

    3rd time’s the charm!!!

    1. the travolta blow up-after decades, we’re tired of it, give up the jig!

    2. katie the scientology terminator!

    3. the master flick- the crap of the cult now reaches the masses (who don’t sit all day reading celebitchy)

    I LOVE IT! Fight the Cult! Fight the Cult!

  38. Jellybean says:

    Joaquin is so gorgeous.

  39. Anne de Vries says:

    What’s interesting to me is that I don’t think there’s much Co$ can do against this film. To bring any official litigation would mean that they officially ‘claimed’ the resemblance – plus all the bad stuff! And then they would end up in a situation where they would have to try to prove the stuff shown in the film is not based on Scientology history while there are eyewitnesses and documentation etc to show that it did in fact happen.

    PTA is walking a very clever line here, no doubt well advised by litigation attorneys.

    I think – if Miscavige’s ego will allow it – that the cult would much rather go ‘What, it’s about us? Nah..’

  40. MacScore says:

    Didn’t think that Joaquin could out-do his superlative performance in Walk the Line, but it looks as if he has! A MUST SEE movie – finally, something intelligent from Hollywood. Counting the weeks!

  41. Cam S says:

    I can’t wait for this movie! Perfect timing! LOVE Joaquin Phoenix ever since the 80′s Parenthood movie. What a cute lil hair lip he is!

    *** Someone please answer: Wasn’t he and his brother River raised in a type of cult? I remember him being called “Leaf Phoenix”

    • Cam S says:

      Sorry just read thu the posts. My question was answered. I was so eager to comment on this article! I’m excited!
      This is a great “come back” film for Phoenix

  42. IzzyB says:

    The release of this film could not have been better timed.

    Everyone working on it must be dancing a jig right now.

    I’ve watched loads of documentarys on cults (it just fascinates me how people blind themselves to any wrongdoings and become brainwashed) so I’ll definitely be giving this a watch.