Paul Thomas Anderson has never been one to shy away from the difficult or the strange, and that’s exactly the case with his attempt to adapt a Thomas Pynchon novel for the big screen.
Inherent Vice is arguably Pynchon’s most accessible novel to date. It’s a kaleidoscopic noir journey through 1970s California in the company of a perpetually stoned detective, as he attempts to solve an increasingly complex case involving a former lover, Malibu beach houses, mental institutions and a surfer band or two. Think Cheech and Chong meet Phillip Marlowe. Definitely a good subject for a Paul Thomas Anderson film, right?
The project has been in development for a while now with little news, so it’s nice to hear Anderson talking about it again. There’s even been talk of Robert Downey Jr. taking on the role of the private detective Larry “Doc” Sportello.
“Adapting Pychon’s work is just gonna be great and, hopefully, fun” he told Empire. As for the timeframe of when we’ll see the film, Anderson says “Hopefully not long. I’d like to have a few years of being more productive. But we’ll see.”
Having read Inherent Vice, I’m personally very excited for this one. It’s an immensely entertaining book, easier than most Pynchon novel, and tailor-made for Anderson’s strange, dream-like style. It’s also probably the only Pynchon novel I can see making a coherent, cohesive film.
It’s early days yet, but with a good cast and good script forthcoming, there’s really no way this can go wrong.
Paul Thomas Anderson is currently at the Venice Film Festival showcasing his new film The Master. Hopefully we’ll be seeing Inherent Vice in a few years time, in the same place.
We’ll definitely keep an eye on casting and script decisions as they happen and we’ll let you know as soon as updates arise.