Benicio Del Toro in Talks to Play Joaquin Phoenix’s Attorney in ‘Inherent Vice’

Published 2 years ago by

Benicio del Toro in Savages Benicio Del Toro in Talks to Play Joaquin Phoenixs Attorney in Inherent Vice

Paul Thomas Anderson began planning the adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s detective novel Inherent Vice back in 2010, and temporarily put it on hold in order to direct the Scientology-based drama The Master. Inherent Vice will see him reteam with Joaquin Phoenix, who will play protagonist Larry “Doc” Sportello – a marijuana-loving private investigator working in Los Angeles at the beginning of the ’70s, who is recruited by his ex-girlfriend to help with a mess of plots, betrayals, ex-cons, and crime bosses, frequently butting heads with the local police department along the way.

In case it wasn’t immediately apparent from that brief synopsis, Doc Sportello has need of a pretty good lawyer, and luckily it looks like he’s about to get one.

The Wrap reports that Dr Gonzo himself, Benicio Del Toro, is in talks for the role of Sportello’s friend and attorney, Sauncho, who is frequently drawn in to help get the private investigator out of trouble.

Anderson has previously described Inherent Vice as a “Cheech and Chong” movie, and considering how infused the central character is with marijuana, the end result may be pretty psychedelic – a kind of “Fear and Loathing in Los Angeles.” Robert Downey Jr. was in talks to play the protagonist at one point, with Charlize Theron playing his ex-girlfriend and the femme fatale of the movie, but ultimately RDJ passed on the role.

Benicio del Toro in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Benicio Del Toro in Talks to Play Joaquin Phoenixs Attorney in Inherent Vice

Del Toro was most recently seen playing a cartel heavy in Oliver Stone’s thriller Savages, and if he does end up signing on for Inherent Vice then the pairing of Del Toro and Phoenix – who haven’t shared a screen together before – will make for quite an interesting combination. It will also mark the first time that Anderson and Del Toro have worked together on a project.

Inherent Vice is scheduled to start filming this month, so if Anderson is chasing Del Toro then there’s a good chance he’s serious, since he’s beyond the point of merely flirting with different options for the role. Sauncho is a relatively minor character within the novel, but there’s a lot of potential for him to be a real scene-stealer, and having Del Toro play an attorney who advises the drug-addled protagonist would likely please a lot of Hunter S. Thompson fans.


Inherent Vice will arrive in theaters in 2014.

Source: The Wrap

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  1. P.t anderson cheach and chong movie? He hasnt done a semi comical movie in a long time

  2. Damn these two on screen together!

  3. Two fine actors. Great choice from director PTA. I think Phoenix and Del Toro would make a great team. Plus they’re both born in Puerto Rico

  4. Two complex and intense actors that one likely would not want to be stuck on an elevator with were they not famous.

  5. PTA is brilliant. I have been looking forward to new information on this film more than almost any other. Joaquin Phoenix was phenomenal in The Master, and I’m sure will have a similar performance, quality wise, in Inherent Vice. The addition of Benecio Del Toro would be great! Those two guys would play well off of each other, I would think. Man, this is going to be good.