Paul Thomas Anderson is as close as we can get to the American auteurs of the 1960s and the ’70s in the 21st century. Known for his modern masterpieces such as There Will Be Blood, Punch-Drunk Love, Boogie Nights and more, Anderson has risen to the very top of his field with the help of his unique vision and unflinching artistic courage. His films serve as insightful commentaries on the implications of modernity, ranging from crippling alienation to destabilised psychological frameworks.
Anderson is back in the director’s chair again with a brand new project called Soggy Bottom. Starring the likes of Bradley Cooper and Benny Safdie among others, the film follows the story of a high school student in the ’70s who embarks on a journey to be an actor. Although the production process began as far back as 2019, plans were understandably halted due to the global disruptions caused by the pandemic.
According to several reports, Soggy Bottom will replicate the unique stylisations of Anderson’s earlier works like Boogie Nights and Magnolia. Described as “a mosaic cast of characters and storylines that eventually intertwine and connect with each other,” the film will follow in the footsteps of some of Anderson’s greatest achievements.
In a fascinating interview, Anderson commented on Boogie Nights: “I think the funniest thing is, and I think this might attribute to the lack of box-office success for Boogie Nights, is that it is, to a certain extent, judgmental. I love those characters. And I love pornography just as much as it completely disgusts me and completely depresses me. So the first half of the movie is all fun and games, but the back-half of the movie is a sort of punishment for those fun and games.”
Adding, “It’s my own guilty feelings about pornography. So to a certain extent, the characters and pornography are judged. It’s just done in such a gentle and honest way because I didn’t know I was doing it. I also write for my friends that are actors. And no matter what I do, I’m never fully writing the character. I’m writing eighty per cent that character and twenty per cent that person I know will be playing that part. And I’ll never truly never let them get hurt.”
Soggy Bottom will have a limited release in November of this year before being extensively distributed in December.