There’s not long to go now until we’re finally able to see the first trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s seventh feature, Inherent Vice. With the movie set to debut at the New York Film Festival next week, Warner Bros. are prepping us eager moviehounds with another new image. It’s the prospect of a full-length, or heck even a teaser trailer that we’re most excited for. But a pic is better than nothing.
In what’s undoubtedly the first opportunity to dive into Anderson’s process behind making the movie, The New York Times snagged an interview with the helmer. When pressing the director on the tone we can expect, Anderson described Inherent Vice as “his most comedic and anarchic film since “Boogie Nights.” It’s a stoner detective film so overstuffed with visual gags and gimmicks that the filmmaker said he was inspired by slapstick spoofs like “Top Secret!” and “Airplane!” There’s no doubt his previous works have honoured his own brand of black humour, and for his latest effort, he turned to canon comedy classics for inspiration:
“ ‘Police Squad!’ and ‘Top Secret!’ are what I clued into. We tried hard to imitate or rip off the Zucker brothers’ style of gags so the film can feel like the book feels: just packed with stuff. And fun.”
That being said, he’s not abandoned any of the Earthy grit from Thomas Pynchon’s original novel, confirming that, “You’ve got to dig down to find that there’s anything, because there’s so many good jokes.” We’re not surprised that there’s a madcap zany slant to the movie, which gained a cast poached mostly from the comedy world. Maya Rudolph and Owen Wilson being two such actors who have considerable slapstick skills.
An Anderson comedy shot in a sun-drenched 70s California, Inherent Vice very nearly became Vineland – another of Pynchon’s novels. Scribbling the script simultaneously with his work on The Master, he set about reducing the mammoth tome. Finishing his first draft without a narrator, he expanded the role of Doc’s “earth-goddess-like” buddy Sortilege from a bit part. Played by Joanna Newsom, she now narrates the movie, which also possesses “an outrageous new ending for the film that deviates significantly from the novel.”
Does this mean the finished product will alienate fans of the book? Don’t worry, Anderson says his main source of inspiration was discovered as he re-watched noir classics The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye and Kiss Me, Deadly. Try to wrap your head around the notion of a classic crime mystery infused with oddball comedy schtick. Sounds like a heady concoction to us, one which we’ll get a better grasp on when the first trailer lands.
Inherent Vice opens in theatres on December 12th.