According to the mandates of the official Grantland policy to Obsessively Cover Anything That Has to Do With The Master, we really have no choice but to present you with this latest clip from Paul Thomas Anderson's upcoming magnum opus. As The Playlist explains, this footage was cut to promote a screening of the movie in Chicago this very Thursday night, with proceeds benefiting a film preservation society. So step one here should be watching the clip, and taking in once more just how epically tortured Joaquin Phoenix looks every second he's onscreen. Whatever you may have thought of Phoenix's "I'm a rapper now" movie I'm Still Here, it flexed a certain method-nutso vulnerability that, to me, was hard not to respect. Now, it looks like Phoenix has brought some of that back — doesn't it feel like his character here is, at any moment, a slight breeze away from breaking out in sobs? — and refined and elevated it through the handiwork of PTA. OK, and step two here should be getting to Chicago for tonight's preview screening of The Master — get on Kayak, saddle up your horse-and-buggy, rent a motorcycle with a sidecar if you have to, just go, go, go!
The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson's forthcoming take on an L. Ron Hubbard–esque religious leader and his wayward disciple, continues its campaign to slow-roll us into complete and utter submission. First there were the juicy rumors about the secretive project, which PTA and his cohorts seemed to almost cheekily deny was about Scientology. Then there was the first footage from the flick, featuring a diabolically tweaking Joaquin Phoenix, back in a real role for the first time since he was still here. And now here comes a new trailer finally revealing Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Hubbard surrogate in all of his creepy glory. We get a bit of chatter between Hoffman and Phoenix, right as the poor lad seems to be getting unwittingly roped into the mind games of the mustachioed man who describes himself as "a writer, a doctor, a nuclear physicist, a theoretical philosopher." It almost makes you want to reach out and grab good ol' slack-faced Joaquin, shake him around the shoulders a bit, and shout at him to run far, far away. But then there wouldn't be a movie (and also, that'd be impossible to do because he's a fictional character). Anyway, this drops October 12. Prepare yourself accordingly.