In the new film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in Italy over the weekend (01-02Sep12), Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the leader of a faith dubbed The Cause.
Anderson, who directed Scientologist Tom Cruise's hit 1999 movie Magnolia, told reporters, "It's a character that I created based on L. Ron Hubbard. There are a lot of similarities with the early days of Dianetics."
Dianetics is the self-help system Hubbard pioneered that became the basis for Scientology.
Anderson added, "I don't really know a whole lot about Scientology, particularly now, but I do know a lot about the beginning of that movement and it inspired me to use it as a backdrop for these characters."
And he admits he hosted a viewing of the movie for Cruise before launching the project: "We are still friends. I showed him the film and the rest is between us."