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Posts Tagged ‘The Master’

Don’t Bother Giving Joaquin Phoenix an Oscar

Joaquin Phoenix, who is well known for both his considerable acting skills and his propensity for pulling ridiculous stunts, would like you to know that he isn’t interested in winning an Oscar for his performance in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master (which we haven’t seen yet, so no spoilers please).

In a recent Vanity Fair interview, Phoenix effectively called Hollywood’s awards fetish a farce:

“I’m just saying that I think it’s bullshit. I think it’s total, utter bullshit, and I don’t want to be a part of it. I don’t believe in it. It’s a carrot, but it’s the worst-tasting carrot I’ve ever tasted in my whole life. I don’t want this carrot. It’s totally subjective.

Well, that’s one way to sink your Oscar chances, because we have a feeling that at least a few people on the Academy panel read Vanity Fair. On the other hand, we can’t say this is terribly surprising coming from an actor who insisted that his brief stint as a bearded rapper was completely legitimate.

Let’s state some obvious truths here: Actors are public figures. They’re about as public as anyone outside of politics can possibly be. We understand the appeal of the “crazy genius” stock character, but the fact that Phoenix can get work while continuing to misbehave in public and exhibit what appears to be disdain for the industry that employs him is a little surprising.

We would note that he is absolutely right and that the only real value of an Academy Award lies in free PR for your movie, but that goes without saying, doesn’t it?

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Strange PR Bedfellows: Scientology and The Nation of Islam

You may not have heard about The Church of Scientology opening a new “national affairs office” in Washington, DC’s historic Fraser Mansion last month. Small PR potatoes, right?

We would normally agree–but this week The New Republic published a fascinating story that caught our eye: It would appear that The Church and The Nation of Islam—which may well be our country’s two least favorite native religious groups—have decided to join hands in the interest of faith and public relations. It’s quite bizarre.

Some might say that Scientology is going through a bit of PR crisis right now. After Paul Haggis’s big 2011 New Yorker takedown, the church’s famous PR team seems to have slowed down a bit—they haven’t even truly responded to PT Anderson’s thinly-veiled L. Ron Hubbard film “The Master” or the inflammatory headlines that have appeared on gossip rags in the wake of the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes split.

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Scientology Plans PR Campaign to Combat ‘The Master’

Director Paul Thomas Anderson has always insisted that his highly anticipated new film “The Master”, which stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as a low-rent sci-fi author and war veteran who decides to go whole hog and invent his own bizarre religion, has nothing to do with the Church of Scientology. Yet most people seem to think that’s exactly what it’s about for some reason!

We all know that the church doesn’t take too kindly to criticism, and we guess the film counts as a critique, because the church’s representatives have now apparently intensified their anti-“Master” PR campaign in anticipation of the movie’s Friday opening.

Despite all this noise, Anderson has never publicly criticized the church, and he has even indicated that the experience of making and promoting his latest opus actually led him to become more sympathetic toward Scientology in general. On a recent stop in Venice he said: “I don’t know a hell of a lot about Scientology today but I know about the beginnings of that movement and it inspired me to use it as a backdrop for these characters. I can’t be any more unambiguous than that.”

OK, so Anderson admits that the character of charismatic cult leader Lancaster Dodd is indeed “partly based on” church founder/ “Dianetics” author/ heavenly body L. Ron Hubbard. Most importantly, the public will always know “The Master” as “that Scientology movie,” so of course the church feels the need to respond.

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