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After the war, he can’t keep a job and kills, or nearly kills, a migrant worker with the poisonous swill he distills. The former sailor seeks drunken refuge on a ship that is carrying Dodd, his family and followers from California to New York via the Panama Canal.

As the two grow closer, Dodd’s wife, played by Amy Adams, begins to worry about Quell’s true intentions and if his destructive behavior will endanger their movement. But Dodd won’t give up his protege.

Hoffman said the two characters are more similar than they appear.

“They’re both wild beasts I think ultimately. One of them has just tamed it somehow and he’s trying to teach other people how to do that, but ultimately that’s where the doubt and the whole reluctant prophet thing comes in,” Hoffman said. `’Ultimately he wants to be wild like Freddie is, so there’s this real attraction there over that. `’

Hoffman said he can relate to the desire to act without reservation, asking: `’Why can’t I just run naked through the streets of Venice?”

`’Why can’t I just do that and have it be OK, you know. Is it possible that I could just have sex with everyone I see today?’ No, it can’t. But I wish that was possible, so I think I’m going to go find my master and he’ll teach me how not to do that.”