Filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson has confirmed the controversial lead character in his new film The Master is loosely based on late author and Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
In the new film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in Italy over the weekend (01-02Sep12), Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the leader of a faith dubbed The Cause.
Anderson, who directed Scientologist Tom Cruise's hit 1999 movie Magnolia, told reporters, "It's a character that I created based on L. Ron Hubbard. There are a lot of similarities with the early days of Dianetics."
Dianetics is the self-help system Hubbard pioneered that became the basis for Scientology.
Anderson added, "I don't really know a whole lot about Scientology, particularly now, but I do know a lot about the beginning of that movement and it inspired me to use it as a backdrop for these characters."
And he admits he hosted a viewing of the movie for Cruise before launching the project: "We are still friends. I showed him the film and the rest is between us."