I’m guessing that most of the news breaks that happen regarding “Inherent Vice” will be through either Cigarettes & Red Vines, which has been the primary Paul Thomas Anderson fansite since they first went online, or The Wrap, which has been all over this film in the last few weeks.
Not long ago, C&RV were the first to report that Warner Bros. is fully financing the next film from the mercurial filmmaker, and that Robert Elswit is returning to shoot the film for PTA. The film, which is set to star Joaquin Phoenix, is an adaptation of a very wry, very funny novel by Thomas Pynchon about Doc Sportello, a private detective in Los Angeles in the ’60s, and it looks like the director’s putting together a fairly amazing ensemble for the movie.
In addition to Phoenix, the cast includes Owen Wilson as Coy Harlingen, a member of a surf band called The Boards and Benicio Del Toro as Sauncho Smilax, a lawyer who occasionally advises Doc, both according to reports on The Wrap. I love the notion of Del Toro playing a role that sounds like a twist on the part he played in “Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas,” still one of my favorite things he’s ever done.
Deadline broke the story that Reese Witherspoon is also onboard now as Shasta Fay Hepworth, whose disappearance really kicks off the events of the story, and that’s a great win for her considering the month she’s had.
Now, late on a Saturday night, C&RV has broken another key piece of casting, and while it hasn’t all been set in stone yet, it looks like Sean Penn is onboard as well. It is thrilling to think of Paul Thomas Anderson putting together a cast like this with a piece of material like this. While “The Master” has grown on me a bit with repeat viewings, I still feel like I miss a certain version of Paul Thomas Anderson’s voice. There’s a sense of humor to his first few films that has been missing in his latest projects, and this book is full of it. It’s also full of big colorful characters and some major tonal shifts, and it should be a real challenge for him. At this point, to see a guy as talented as PTA pushed to try something new is exactly what keeps it interesting. Say what you will about his work, but he does not repeat himself, and he doesn’t seem to be interested in playing it safe.
Thank god for that.