Scott Pilutik

I am an attorney and consultant living and working in Manhattan, focusing primarily on church/state constitutional law. I'm a recognized expert on the Church of Scientology organization. I also have strong interests in intellectual property law where it intersects with emerging media, and free speech.

I support the efforts of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the National Lawyers Guild, the ACLU, Creative Commons, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I am a member of the New York County Lawyers Association and the New York State Bar Association. I also enjoy (watching) hockey and (doing) photograhy.

Online I can be found on Facebook, Twitter. My resume can be viewed here. I can be reached by phone at 212.645.6241 or by e-mail at pilutik[at]gmail.com.

It’s undeniable that The Master is about Scientology, specifically Hubbard’s…

It's undeniable that The Master is about Scientology, specifically Hubbard's early years, but it's perfectly understandable why Paul Thomas Anderson doesn't want to talk about it.

I think if you look at There Will Be Blood you get a sense that PTA is a director who takes himself very seriously, and you can view TWBB as a sort of historical fiction where its power derives less from the source material than PTA's impressionistic take on the story. I think he'd feel that he would be undermining what he sees as the essence of the film if he were to admit what it is "about." It wouldn't only cheapen the film to call it a biopic, but if you label it as such you also shorten your license to fictionalize, because then you're forced into a discussion over what was fact and fiction, questions he's smart enough not to want to answer.

Hubbard's early 1950s, and the company he kept, is really interesting, untapped source material for filmmakers. But it's also contentious, at least between Scientology's pure fantasy version and Russell Miller's far more plausible version told in "Bare Faced Messiah" (which based on what I've seen and heard so far, was likely PTA's key source). In other words, PTA is not only smart enough to know that any discussion of Scientology will detract from his film, but also because that discussion places him in the center of a never-ending argument.

I suspect he'll be more willing to talk about Scientology and Hubbard a few years from now. But in the promotional phase of a movie, which I imagine is the least fun thing a director ever has to do, he wants to do whatever he can to keep the focus on the movie, and talking about Scientology achieves the opposite.

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Stop Asking if Paul Thomas Anderson’s New Movie Is About Scientology, Even Though It Probably Is
If you’re a fan of Paul Thomas Anderson films — Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood — chances are you’re excited about The Master, which has already been hyped to death by festival audiences. But what …

  • https://plus.google.com/102664199967755043602 Judy Richter

    i'm not sure he'll talk about it in the future. he doesn't talk much at all. and he stays far away from screenings (like the other night, which was an event to be sure but not a premiere).
    i sometimes wonder if PTA's approach — with all his films — is genuine or if he has carefully cultivated the shy eccentric persona to perpetuate chatter. from what i do know, the latter is true.
    The Master is obviously about scientology, specifically LRH early days as you point out. SeaOrg history and homosexuality are major undercurrents (overcurrents?) PTA borrows heavily from douglas sirk trope and toys with it, appropriate for a film that takes place in the 50's and true to his personal style.
    i don't bow at the feet of PTA like so many film people i know, and i don't hate him like others do. i was geeky excited to see a beautifully shot film in 70mm but aside from that excitement…i'm sticking with "to be continued," because as much as i want to discuss it, especially with a film buff/sciion expert, it is more fun for me to do the play-by-play with people who've seen it (i'm like that with any highly anticipated film).
    whatever persona PTA decided to cultivate as a director, i'm pretty confident now as i write this that he won't discuss scientology in this decade or any other in the near future: there are other major themes to dissect. j phoenix's character is really the lead and there is a whole film playing out about a questionably suggestible insane alcoholic war-vet-drifter. so while he can "hide" behind his persona and legitimately discuss the film's merits, it's not the same as justly saying There Will Be Blood was not merely about an oil baron. The Master IS about L Ron Hubbard and PTA knew exactly what he was messing with. scientology in hollywood is too hot a topic to just play coy with, but that's exactly what he'll continue to do.
    as is his right. frustrating though it may be.

  • https://plus.google.com/102664199967755043602 Judy Richter

    i'm not sure he'll talk about it in the future. he doesn't talk much at all. and he stays far away from screenings (like the other night, which was an event to be sure but not a premiere).
    i sometimes wonder if PTA's approach — with all his films — is genuine or if he has carefully cultivated the shy eccentric persona to perpetuate chatter. from what i do know, the latter is true.
    The Master is obviously about scientology, specifically LRH early days as you point out. SeaOrg history and homosexuality are major undercurrents (overcurrents?) PTA borrows heavily from douglas sirk trope and toys with it, appropriate for a film that takes place in the 50's and true to his personal style.
    i don't bow at the feet of PTA like so many film people i know, and i don't hate him like others do. i was geeky excited to see a beautifully shot film in 70mm but aside from that excitement…i'm sticking with "to be continued," because as much as i want to discuss it, especially with a film buff/sciion expert, it is more fun for me to do the play-by-play with people who've seen it (i'm like that with any highly anticipated film).
    whatever persona PTA decided to cultivate as a director, i'm pretty confident now as i write this that he won't discuss scientology in this decade or any other in the near future: there are other major themes to dissect. j phoenix's character is really the lead and there is a whole film playing out about a questionably suggestible insane alcoholic war-vet-drifter. so while he can "hide" behind his persona and legitimately discuss the film's merits, it's not the same as justly saying There Will Be Blood was not merely about an oil baron. The Master IS about L Ron Hubbard and PTA knew exactly what he was messing with. scientology in hollywood is too hot a topic to just play coy with, but that's exactly what he'll continue to do.
    as is his right. frustrating though it may be.

  • https://plus.google.com/114928140774667934994 scott pilutik

    Thanks Judy, I missed this. I'm writing a review that gets into some of the points you raise. Hope to finish today.

  • https://plus.google.com/114928140774667934994 scott pilutik

    Thanks Judy, I missed this. I'm writing a review that gets into some of the points you raise. Hope to finish today.