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Trivia / The Master

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  • Acclaimed Flop: The movie has been named both The AV Club and Rolling Stone's film of the year and garnered three Academy Award nominations. Unfortunately, it fell short of its $32 million budget, grossing about $28 million.
  • Development Hell: Universal financed the script but ultimately passed on the film in 2010, either due to budget concerns or nervousness about the Church of Scientology, or maybe both. Anderson had to get independent financing, which delayed the film for two more years and led to Joaquin Phoenix getting the role that was originally supposed to go to Jeremy Renner.
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  • Method Acting: Phoenix spent three months in character, which impressed the director so much that he compared him to Daniel Day-Lewis and his dedication to character.
  • One-Take Wonder: Joaquin Phoenix's unhinged performance as an alcohol-addled follower of Hoffman's character was on full display in a largely improvised scene. Phoenix went absolutely berserk, and his first take at the scene was the one Anderson chose to use in the final cut.
  • Playing Against Type: If you're used to Amy Adams's typical "sweethearted heroine" roles... you are in for the shock of your life, seeing her play a cold Lady Macbeth and basically the closest thing the film has to a clear-cut villain. note 
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  • Production Posse: This is Anderson's sixth film and the fifth to feature Philip Seymour Hoffman, who has missed only There Will Be Blood. Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, who scored There Will Be Blood, also scored this film. However, this is the first P.T. Anderson film without Robert Elswit as cinematographer.
  • Reality Subtext: Joaquin Phoenix, like Freddie, was involved in a cult, the Children of God, but was raised under the CoG as a child instead of joining as an adult.
  • Screwed by the Network: The film was released in September to practically die out, and suffered the misfortune of being both underdistributed and undermarketed due to The Weinstein Company deciding to push movies like Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained instead.
  • Those Two Actors: This is the third movie to have Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams (see also Charlie Wilson's War and the screen version of Doubt). Sadly, Hoffman's untimely passing in 2014 means it's also the last.
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  • What Could Have Been: Reese Witherspoon was the first choice for Peggy Dodd. She turned it down over her dislike of the material and did This Means War!, instead.


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