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Your Thoughts on The Master: Who Was Freddie Quell?

Just time this morning for a quick question we wanted to put to our excellent commenting community: as we’ve established in the past, Paul Thomas Anderson researched Scientology’s history deeply before writing the script for his film The Master. There’s just no question that his characters Lancaster, Peggy, and Val Dodd are based on their real-life counterparts: L. Ron, Mary Sue, and L. Ron Hubbard Jr.

But what about the star of the movie? It’s Joaquin Phoenix’s character Freddie Quell who is the main focus of The Master, and we have to wonder, is he based on a real-life counterpart as well?

We’ve heard several different theories on this. Some of our ex-Scientologist sources tell us they see a man named Bruce Welch in Freddie Quell. Welch was a member of the Apollo crew who went a bit crazy in 1973. Hubbard insisted on treating him, and eventually claimed to have done so with a new process he called the “Introspection Rundown.” (That infamous treatment is also what Lisa McPherson was put through in 1995 when she ended up dead at the Fort Harrison Hotel.)

Hubbard’s insistence that he could treat a man who seemed over the edge does seem to be reflected in the way Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) refuses to give up on Freddie Quell, who seems like a lost cause.

But we’ve heard other people say they see in Dodd and Quell two halves of Hubbard himself. Others have suggested that Quell might have some of David Miscavige in him.

We’d like to know what you think.

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