In The Master, Joaquin Phoenix plays an ex-navy man with post-traumatic stress disorder who falls in with a cult leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who may or may not be based on L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology. It’s an amazing, puzzling movie and Joaquin Phoenix’s approach to his role is the opposite of Daniel Day-Lewis’s in Lincoln. Whereas DDL appears to be in control of everything, including his pores and facial hair, Joaquin doesn’t seem to know what Joaquin is doing—he keeps surprising himself. Where is it coming from? He must be hell to direct but the result is beautiful and terrifying. More on the The Master later.
Noel pointed out the early scene, set in Hawaii, in which Joaquin’s character is drinking his homemade brew with some Pinoys. Tagalog is spoken in the background. Someone sings Dahil Sa ‘Yo, and its composer who, funnily enough, shares the name of the leader of the religious group El Shaddai, Mike Velarde. All is well, until you hear this bit of off-camera dialogue:
“Katabi siya ng artista.” (He’s beside the movie star.)
The artista being Joaquin Phoenix. Apparently the extras were so thrilled to be in the movie, they talked about it during a take, and no one in the editing room could understand Tagalog, tsk tsk.