LOS ANGELES — "The Master," Paul Thomas Anderson's upcoming film about the origins of a religion that bears a striking resemblance to Scientology, released its official trailer on Monday, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The trailer, however, leaves much of the storyline to the imagination. It focuses instead on the film's co-star Joaquin Phoenix, a drifter who becomes the right-hand man to Philip Seymour Hoffman's charismatic character and helps him build a cult-like religion during the aftermath of World War II, The Atlantic reported.
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The trailer cuts back and forth between Phoenix (who marks his first return to the screen since his 2010 mocumentary "I'm Still Here") being questioned by a naval officer about his apparent misbehavior and scenes of WWII Marines' debauchery, as unsettling music plays in the background. Seymour, whose character has drawn comparisons to L. Ron Hubbard, is notably absent from the trailer, according to the Wrap.
"Maybe they're keeping him secret because he's just too good to spoil right now," the Atlantic speculated.
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Though Hubbard, who founded the Church of Scientology in 1952, claimed he was a decorated World War II veteran, a Los Angeles Times investigation found that the charismatic religious leader actually had a "checkered" military career scattered with unsatisfactory fitness reports and questionable claims about injuries, the Wrap reported.
"The Master" will be Paul Thomas Anderson's first major movie in five years, and also features Amy Adams and Laura Dern, according to the Wrap.
It is scheduled to hit theaters on October 12, 2012.