Last we heard about Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, inspired by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, Anderson had already shown the film to Lord Xenu’s greatest living enemy Tom Cruise and gotten his blessing. But Scientology is nothing if not a cult of insane weirdos, and it turns out they aren’t all okay with it. Apparently The Weinstein Company (who’s distributing the film) have been getting harassed and receiving weird phone calls, prompting Harvey Weinstein to hire additional security guards.
Even though Anderson and star Philip Seymour Hoffman insist in interviews their film isn’t about the controversial religion, sources say Scientologists have been “inundating” the distributor, The Weinstein Co., with strange calls objecting to the film and are concocting plans to combat it when the film is released this week. “The Master” stars Hoffman as an enigmatic church leader and Joaquin Phoenix as an early disciple.
Sources tell Page Six that Scientology is countering the film’s marketing by running its own ads promoting its message in places where ads and stories about “The Master” appear.
Calls and mail from people believed to be Scientologists to Weinstein’s office have grown numerous enough that some on the film’s team have hired extra security, a source said. Weinstein had already been under close guard following a recent attempt to blackmail him by a man unrelated to the film. [NY Post]
Oooh, calls and mail, scary! Yeah, this one smacks of publicity stunt to me. A lot of us were hoping for some controversy between The Master and the notoriously litigious Church of Scientology, and maybe after that disappointing story about Cruise saying he was cool with the film, Weinstein is trying to provide it. I have a hard time believing Harvey Weinstein is scared of a few phone calls. I’ve heard Harvey Weinstein can choke you through the phone using only his mind, and when you wake up, all the money in your wallet is gone. He swallows rotisserie chickens whole and spits out the bones in baseball-sized pellets. Nothing scares that guy, he’s like Darth Vader and Jabba the Hutt combined, with more body hair.