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Paul Thomas Anderson has been called a “comedy lurker.” He cast his hilarious wife Maya Rudolph and Martin Short in “Inherent Vice” and completely redefined the way the world saw Adam Sandler in “Punch Drunk Love.”
But even the most diehard fans may not remember that Jillian Bell, of “Workaholics” and “22 Jump Street” fame, played a small role in “The Master,” perhaps the least comedic entry in all of Anderson’s filmography. “The Master” was an unexpected dramatic role for the actress, predating the star turn she’ll take in this summer’s “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a comedy with dramatic heft that took this year’s Sundance Film Festival by storm.
Interview - Vanity - Fair - Richard - Lawson
During an interview with Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson during the Provincetown International Film Festival this weekend, Bell revealed how it felt to step onto the set of “The Master” as a young TV actress. “He’s a fan of ‘Workaholics.’ I met him on the set and he’s like, ‘Thanks for doing this.’ And I was like, ‘What? Are you joking me?,'” Bell quipped. “That was like my college experience. Watching Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix have two completely different styles of acting…perform[ing] scene after scene after scene, how it changes and evolves.”
Bell plays Susan Gregory in the 2012 film, a woman in a group therapy session presided over by Hoffman’s Lancaster Dodd, an L. Ron Hubbard-type figure. Although she has a nice little monologue recalling a childhood memory, there was another scene that did not make final cut.
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