To secure the ideal cast for his film The Master, director Paul Thomas Anderson enlisted Amy Adams, who has made inroads in both independent and studio films. In The Master, she plays Peggy Dodd, the co-dependent wife of cult philosopher Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). As always, the humble Adams became fully invested in her character for the famously meticulous Anderson.
Speaking of the collaboration between actor and director, Adams noted how those distinctions blur on Anderson’s sets. “When you are in the middle of it, there isn’t a way to put my finger on it,” she said. “When somebody’s doing their job as a director, you don’t where their ideas end and your ideas begin.”
“Paul very much believes in getting the right cast and the right locations and that very much comes across on the screen,” said producer Danel Lupi who has worked with Anderson on all five of his feature films
One only need to look back at Anderson’s casts to second that opinion: Hard Eight introduced both Gwyneth Paltrow and John C. Reilly as leading actors; Boogie Nights made Mark Wahlberg into a serious name; Magnolia enhanced the reputations of Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, and Hoffman in their ability to undertake challenging material; Punch-Drunk Love is likely Adam Sandler’s most truthful role to date; and Daniel Day-Lewis gives one of his most memorable of many performances in There Will Be Blood.
Surely, Adams’ Peggy Dodd is an enabling wife but so much more as she embodies a character who supports her husband in all senses though she is fully aware of his serious flaws. Anderson would often spontaneously ask her to read lines to camera the morning of a shoot, but Adams knew she would be in safe hands with her director who often shoots long setups in few takes before moving on. But that pressure never detracted Adams from the work at hand.
“There was this great sense of humor and the ability to laugh,” she said.
There was always an opportunity to laugh.“