I was doing cartwheels around my apartment back in February when it was announced that Paul Thomas Anderson had potentially found funding for two of his upcoming projects, the Scientology parable The Master, and an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice. But as happy as I was that the projects would be getting made, one thing that left a sour taste in my mouth was that Jeremy Renner, who had been attached to The Master alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman, would no longer be able to do the project due to scheduling conflicts. Now it seems that they've found his replacement.

Variety reports that Joaquin Phoenix, who hasn't appeared in a film since he tried to prank the world with his faux-documentary I'm Still Here, is now in talks to be in the Anderson film. Mirroring the history of Scientology, Phoenix would play Freddie Sutton, a drunken deadbeat who finds himself as the assistant to Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman), a manipulative L. Ron Hubbard-type figure who is known as The Master. As the story continues, Sutton begins to find himself questioning Dodd and his manipulative ways. According to the story, the financing deal is not yet complete, though Annapurna Pictures is still looking to get behind the film.

Yes, I'm Still Here was a bit of a debacle that hurt Phoenix's reputation, but we are still talking about an actor who earned two Oscar nominations in the span of five years. While I still would have liked to see what Renner could have done with the part, I'm not one to question the moves of Paul Thomas Anderson.

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