Anderson's Angel: Billionaire to Finance Two New Films from 'There Will Be Blood' Director Paul Thomas Andersonby: Posted:
If there are two things I love, it's art-driven cinema and eccentric billionaires.
Now, miraculously, those two interests have merged with the Vulture report that Megan Ellison, daughter of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, is coming to the rescue of Paul Thomas Anderson (writer/director of "There Will Be Blood," "Boogie Nights," and "Magnolia").
In spite of "There Will Be Blood," Anderson's latest film from 2007, receiving eight Oscar nominations, Anderson's had a bit of a time getting his next project to production. He went to work on a film called "The Master," which was to star Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the leader of a religion that bore a striking resemblance to Scientology.
Then in September of last year, the project just stopped. Costar Jeremy Renner told Total Film Magazine that the project had been "postponed indefinitely at this point." He went on to say "we kept coming up against a wall that we couldn't overcome. Or at least Paul couldn't overcome." The nature of that wall - financial, creative, or otherwise - was never clarified.
Anderson has gone on to develop "Inherent Vice," based on the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name, and has apparently made healthy progress.
So much so that Ellison has come onboard to finance not only "Inherent Vice," about a stoner detective investigating the disappearance of his former girlfriend's current lover in 1969 Los Angeles, but also "The Master."
Ellison has become notorious around Hollywood since "True Grit," which she and her brother David co-financed, grossed over $150 million on a reported $38 million budget. She's also responsible for bringing John Hillcoat's "The Wettest Country in the World" back on track. Its shutdown in late 2009 caused Hillcoat to question the future of these sorts of midrange-budget dramas, writing, "I end the year appropriately - gazing into the apocalypse of my own industry."
This past year seems to have turned Hollywood around on the concept of the midrange drama. With films like "The Town," "The Social Network" and "True Grit" becoming huge hits on manageable budgets, we're starting to hear more reports like this of ambitious filmmakers with a strong track record getting more leverage.
It's a huge benefit to audiences eager for something meatier than the next superhero movie, and apparently Hollywood is making it a win as well.