Backstage pics emerge from Paul Thomas Anderson's next

Vintage-style photos from Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming drama The Master have been released, showing extras killing time backstage in beautifully detailed period garb.

While the pictures, snapped by photographer Jack Erling, don’t feature any of the film’s stars, they suggest the enigmatic director has not lost his commitment to authenticity or his arthouse sensibility.

The auteur’s first since 2007's searing There Will be Blood , the project initially struggled to find financing but is already one of the most anticipated films of 2012.

It will tell the tale of a young drifter (Joaquin Phoenix) in 1950s America, who falls in with ‘the Master’ - the charismatic leader of a pseudo-religious belief system played by Anderson favourite Philip Seymour Hoffman - and his daughter (Amy Adams).

Its premise and inspired cast should alone be enough to tantalise, but the thinly veiled parallel with Scientology - which the Boogie Nights man nevertheless denies - might just irk the considerable ranks of L. Ron Hubbard (the 'L' stands for Lafayette...) disciples in Hollywood and ruffle some faith-based feathers.

Let’s hope any polemical aspects don’t come at the cost of the movie's artistic merit. For the time being, enjoy this monochrome glimpse behind the scenes. The sartorial signs are good.

The film is likely to hit cinemas by late 2012.