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Jeremy Renner Eying Paul Thomas Anderson's Scientology Film



    Janathan Olley
    In The Hurt Locker, Staff Sergeant William James (played by Jeremy Renner) fears nothing as the leader of an Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit stationed in Iraq. Translation? He keeps bombs from blowing up. Constantly seeking the thrill of the dismantlement, James is a renegade who puts his unit in danger just as often as he saves lives.

    Fresh off his Oscar-nomination for "The Hurt Locker," Jeremy Renner is likely seeing a better class of scripts come his way. Among those is Paul Thomas Anderson film about Scientology.

    News that Renner may sign on was first reported by The Playlist two weeks ago and confirmed by Deadline Hollywood just yesterday. As Playlist notes, it's a curious development because Renner, at 39, is about 15 years too old for the part in question.

    The film which (our corporate cousins) Universal just passed on, would star Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a man clearly based on L. Ron Hubbard, who meets a 20-something drifter named Freddie, the role Renner is up for.

    Looking back at his history, it's hard to imagine that PTA would make a pro-Scientology film. Yet, the new script was based largely on a play that Anderson put on in 2008 that starred Maya Rudolph, Anderson's wife, and her "SNL" co-star Fred Armisen, himself a Scientologist.

    Further complcating matters is the fact that the Church of Scientology is notriously litigious. Anderson is a bold artist with a strong voice, it's hard to imagine him pulling any punches.