Inherent Vice Will Stray From Pynchon’s Novel, Says Josh Brolin


It is hard to think of a filmmaker today whose work is as excitingly original as Paul Thomas Anderson’s. For the second time in his career, the director is adapting an ambitious work of fiction: Thomas Pynchon’s dark mystery Inherent Vice. However, similar to how the writer/director used Upton Sinclair’s Oil as a loose foundation for There Will Be Blood, Inherent Vice will stray quite a bit from its source material, according to star Josh Brolin.

In a chat with Ireland’s Independent, Brolin revealed that the film is quite different from the novel. “We took it I think in a direction that the book doesn’t necessarily go, hoping it will work,” he said. Pynchon’s novel received a mixed critical reception when it came out in 2009, with some citing is a failed attempt to merge the tropes and atmosphere of pulp fiction with the author’s incomparable (and often cryptic) writing style.

Trying to bring any Pynchon work to the screen probably demands some adaptation. Despite the author’s storied history and notoriety as a literary genius, Inherent Vice is the first film adaptation of one of his works. Thankfully, Anderson was up to the daunting task and probably understands that not all audiences will be satisfied with a straight telling of Pynchon’s material.

Inherent Vice is a noir set in Los Angeles in the late 1960s, following a drugged-up private eye, Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix), who investigates the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend, a real estate mogul. Brolin plays Sportello’s detective nemesis from the LAPD, Christian “Bigfoot” Bjornsen. The film boasts a grand ensemble cast, including Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro, Owen Wilson, Jena Malone, Martin Short, Katherine Waterston, Michael K. Williams and Anderson’s wife, Maya Rudolph.

The film will also see Anderson reunite with composer Jonny Greenwood, who will hopefully add some psychedelic grooves to what should be a trippy, crazy adventure into the sleaze of 1960s Los Angeles.

Inherent Vice is currently in post-production and releases on December 12th.