Leonardo DiCaprio, Regina Hall and Sean Penn lead new Paul Thomas Anderson film

Paul Thomas Anderson
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Paul Thomas Anderson’s soon-to-shoot film is set to feature a raft of talent – and is being touted as his ‘most commercial’ project yet.

We’ve known for a while that Paul Thomas Anderson has been planning his follow-up to 2021’s Licorice Pizza, but as is often the case with a PTA film, details remain shrouded in secrecy.

The untitled project has been established at Warner Bros and according to Variety, is set to begin production on 21st January.

Production will take place in California, and although there’s no word yet as to where the film’s story will be situated, we’ve seen Anderson return to the San Fernando Valley throughout his career, most recently with Licorice Pizza.

Despite winning lots of critical acclaim, that film didn’t catch fire at the box office, earning $33m from a reported $40m budget. The film wasn’t headlined with any real star power though, something that shouldn’t be an issue for Anderson’s next project.

According to reports, Leonardo DiCaprio, Regina Hall and Sean Penn are all in place to lead what promises to be an even larger ensemble of talent.

If that’s not an exciting enough prospect in itself, it sounds like Anderson is going to have the largest budget of his career at his disposal too, with the film said to be costing around $100m. As such, we can expect the film to be his most commercially-inclined project to date given that Warner Bros will be eager to turn that outlay into profit.

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Last year saw several high-budget auteur-driven projects perform in polarising fashion at the box office.

While the successes of Barbie and Oppenheimer continue to be cited as reference points for the artistic and commercial potential that lies in giving a talented filmmaker a decent budget to make something original, the commercial failures of Babylon and Amsterdam remain as warnings that this approach does not guarantee a financial return.

The more of these successes the industry enjoys, the more likely we are to see studios normalising support for talented filmmakers telling original stories so we’re crossing everything in the hope that this project is a huge success (not that we need additional reasons to be excited about a Paul Thomas Anderson project).

The final morsel of information included in the report is also tantalising: Anderson is returning to a contemporary setting for this film, something we’ve only see him do occasionally throughout his filmography with Punch Drunk Love and of course, Magnolia.

We’ll bring you more on this one as we get it, but with the film shooting at the end of this month, we’re hoping to hear pretty soon who else will be appearing in the ensemble. Watch this space for more.

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