First, he gets a mainstream comic actor to act in a contemplative art house narrative with Punch-Drunk Love. Now, he's putting two of them on a stage. According to cigarettes and red vines, Paul Thomas Anderson has written and directed a play in Los Angeles with Saturday Night Live stars Maya Rudolph (Anderson's partner) and Fred Armisen. It premieres at the Largo on August 5, but specific details about plot remain unrevealed. Still, the prospects of seeing Anderson's eerily detached style in a live performance are intriguing, to say the least. As Slashfilm points out, the production has a few logical attachments to the filmmaker's past: Anderson directed a short film for SNL back in 2000, and Rudolph starred in Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion, which Anderson may or may not have ghost-directed in parts.

Now that Anderson has proven he can craft epic period pieces of the raunchy (Boogie Nights) and morose (There Will Be Blood) kind, he's reached a point where audiences will basically allow him to take them wherever he wants to go. The dynamics of the stage, however, differ greatly from those of the cinema. Since the name and subject matter are a mystery, there's a lot left to the imagination. Will Anderson allow Rudolph and Armisen to unleash their comic potential? Or is that a milkshake I hear brewing?