Paul Thomas Anderson is arguably a madman – and we love him for it. He’s an auteur whose work leaves a lasting impression – and now his eye is turned towards adapting an undeniably trippy detective novel by cult author Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice.
Anderson’s Scientology-inspired project, The Master is indefinitely on hold, which means his schedule is open for the time being. Word is that the filmmaker has already written a treatment for the big screen version of Inherent Vice – and may even have started penning the screenplay.
Vulture says that CAA holds the book rights to Pynchon’s Inherent Vice and wants to attach Robert Downey Jr. to the project. The Iron Man star is already on-board for too many projects as is, so his involvement with P.T. Anderson’s latest is a long-shot for now. Anderson has directed only two films over the last ten years (the mildly warped Adam Sandler film, Punch-Drunk Love and the allegorical period piece, There Will Be Blood), so it might be awhile before he starts production on his next project anyway.
Inherent Vice is essentially a psychedelic Noir tale that revolves around Larry “Doc” Sportello, a private eye living in 1969 Los Angeles who spends much of his time in a marijuana-induced stupor. The end of the “groovy sixties” approaches all too fast for Doc when his ex-girlfriend (the book’s femme fatale) shows up and draws him into an elaborate web of lies, backstabbing, and deceit that involves surfers, dopers, loan sharks, ex-cons, and a billionaire land developer – among others.
Those unfamiliar with Pynchon’s style of prose and language should watch the following video, in which the author himself narrates an Inherent Vice commentary from the perspective of his creation, Doc Sportello:
Anderson’s ability to conjure up surreal visuals (see Magnolia for case in point) or preference for elaborate tracking shots (a la Martin Scorsese) would serve him well in bringing Pynchon’s source material to life in an appropriately vibrant and succulent cinematic fashion (re: trippy). Inherent Vice is not your average detective story but nothing that Anderson has done up to now could be described as an ordinary genre film, so it could be an excellent fit for him.
Robert Downey Jr. could easily capture the sardonic wit of Pynchon’s Doc Sportello. Inherent Vice wouldn’t be the actor’s first foray into the world of Noir – that honor goes to The Singing Detective, a strange, self-reflective piece that is all the more interesting given Downey Jr.’s personal history. No one is holding their breath to see if he signs up for Anderson’s adaptation-in-the-making, but it could make for one memorable collaboration between these two talents.
We’ll keep you posted on the development of the Inherent Vice adaptation, but what do you think of the project so far?