Since her Oscar-nominated turn in 2005’s “Junebug,” Amy Adams has gone on to build an impressive résumé of commercial hits and acclaimed indie films. In Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, “The Master,” Adams portrays Peggy Dodd, the strong-willed wife of religious leader Lancaster Dodd, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. While Lancaster may be the star, it’s Peggy who often provides the strength and the brains of the operation. And her distrust of her husband’s burgeoning friendship with WWII veteran Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) makes for some of the film’s best scenes.
Adams says that after the script for “The Master” came to her, she eagerly sat down with Anderson to discuss it. “I didn’t really have any hesitations; I trusted Paul’s vision, always,” she says. “I think I just wanted to talk it out with him and hear his ideas.” Though many people assume the film is based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, Adams quickly dismisses the comparison. “It’s not a film about Scientology,” she says. “It’s a movie about relationships and these two men. I think it deals a lot more with posttraumatic stress than any one religion.”
Peggy spends most of the film pregnant, and Adams jokes that the maternity garb of the period helped her a lot in finding her character. “Just putting on some of those outfits put me right in her mindset,” she says. She also adds that she was pleased to find Peggy was such a powerful woman and references Anderson’s longtime love, actor Maya Rudolph. “Paul lives with a strong female character, so maybe that had something to do with it.”