Tom Cruise's strange year may be just about to get a bit more unusual.
Philip Seymour Hoffman (centre), Joaquin Phoenix (right) star in The Master
His friend Paul Thomas Anderson, who directed him to Award-winning effect in Magnolia, has created an unsettling drama called The Master, boasting an A-list cast - Philip Seymour Hoffman in In Cold Blood-esque fine form, Joaquin Phoenix back to his best, Amy Adams and Laura Dern - and the kind of production values that usually get at least a few nods come Awards season.
So far so uncontroversial. Except, with exquisite timing that a film publicist could only dream of, The Master is widely believed to be based on the story of L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, the religious organisation that has seen its name in an unprecedented number of headlines in the last month during the shock divorce news of its star pupil Cruise and his estranged wife Katie Holmes.
Anderson directed Cruise as the charismatic sex guru in Magnolia
Rumours have abounded that it was Cruise's adherence to the secret religion that drew a wedge between the pair, with Holmes making the defiant gesture of signing up to her local Catholic church before the ink on her separation agreement was dry.
While Anderson is keeping quiet on the genus of his undetermined religion, there are unmissable similarities between his film and the history of Scientology - including the time-frame and, according to Collider.com, the depiction of the Master's epiphany on a boat trip.
Now Collider reports that Anderson has shown the film to Cruise, who 'had some issues' with several parts of the film. The film is not due for release until November, so Anderson has time to change it, should he wish to, although, from the trailer, it looks pretty splendid as it is. Check out the trailer below...