Paul Thomas Anderson To Adapt Thomas Pynchon’s ‘Inherent Vice’

Some very interesting news, reports coming from Vulture that writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson is interested in doing an adaptation of Inherent Vice, based on legendary author Thomas Pynchon’s novel of the same name. And even more interestingly Anderson wants Robert Downey Jr. for the lead role.

Taking on a Pynchon book is one mean feat, his novels feature a daringly complex with ambitious scope which works in the novel form and would be devilishly difficult to transform into a workable and faithful film. However if there was anyone ever brave enough to take on that challenge it’s Paul Thomas Anderson, a writer and director of considerable skill who has dabbled in both elements of multi-stranded melodrama and intense character study which have defined Pynchon and Anderson’s work.

Inherent Vice is an easier nut to crack than any other Pynchon work, its a shorter novel and the plot is more atoned to the mechanics of cinema, it’s a bit more linear. There is something very visual in Pynchon’s description of evocation of the world of Los Angeles in the 60s, and the setting is something which appeals very much to Anderson’s sensibilites, all of his films (with the exception of Hard Eight) are set in LA or California.

The plot revolves around Doc Sportello, a private detective who discovers a kidnapping plot of a billionaire which is brought to his attention by his ex-girlfriend. It is set in 60s LA and has a drug fuelled haze and political awareness that places it somewhere between The Big Lebowski and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Downey Jr. is wanted to play the drugged up lead Sportello, a perfect piece of casting if you ask me, but he has to fit it into his already busy schedule.

Nothing is set in stone at the very moment, but according to insiders PTA has written a treatment for the studio and is currently working on a first draft. While I am very excited to see any PTA project going forward, its been a long time since the epic There Will Be Blood, I am disappointed that his Scientology satire The Master never did get off the ground. Actor Jeremy Renner still has hope it may come around some day, but until that day we can look forward to hearing more news on Inherent Vice.