Wasting no time following the commercial disappointment and critical success of last year's The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson plans to begin shooting his latest project, Inherent Vice, this month. Finally realizing his desire to adapt Thomas Pynchon's psychedelic neo-noir to the screen, Anderson has finally secured the financial backing needed to go forward and is sticking fairly closely to the originally projected "late April" start date.
However, it's Warner Bros., and not Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures, who will be providing funding for the film. It appears that money was the most significant factor keeping Inherent Vice in a holding pattern; with that concern covered, and with his regular cinematographer Robert Elswit re-joining him after their brief stint apart on The Master (which Mihai Malaimare Jr. shot), Anderson needs only to assemble his cast before filming commences.
Joaquin Phoenix remains attached to the production, presumably to play protagonist Larry "Doc" Sportello, but no other decisions have been made regarding additional casting. It's still possible that Charlize Theron may end up on board - perhaps to play Doc's ex-girlfriend, Shasta Fay Hepworth - but nobody will know for sure until official announcements are made in the following weeks. (Maybe even sooner, if WB pushes to get production off the ground quickly.)
Anderson's partnership with WB on the film is inherently suggestive; he may be playing things safer on this picture after The Master's monetary failure. (The film opened well and broke some records in the process, but reportedly didn't earn back its alleged $30 million dollar budget.) Anderson isn't a box office darling by any stretch, but it's telling that he's hitched his horse to WB's wagon after coming up short for Ellison and Harvey Weinstein. (That said, it's difficult to imagine either of them having fits over a movie that earned Academy Award nominations for the heavy hitters of its cast.)
Perhaps the real key detail here is that Anderson intends on shooting Inherent Vice on regular 35mm stock - a big step back from The Master, which he and Malaimare captured on 70mm. The decision definitely indicates the frame of mind Anderson's approaching the film with: uncomplicated, easy, no fuss.
None of this is meant to say that Inherent Vice isn't going to be worth watching, of course. Anderson, no matter who he works with and no matter what format he chooses to shoot on, is one of the most compelling and unique contemporary filmmakers of our day. Seeing him take on Pynchon's drug-fueled LA detective romp, with Phoenix at his side, should make for an incredible experience. He's already described the story in terms of Cheech & Chong, a comparison that makes the film a must-see on its own; couple that with his reunion with Phoenix and Elswit, and Inherent Vice is shaping up to be one of 2014's most exciting releases.
We'll keep you up to date on production as more information becomes available.
Inherent Vice will arrive in theaters in 2014.
Source: The Playlist