It’s taken a bit longer than some fans would’ve liked, but Paul Thomas Anderson has finally started talking about his highly anticipated “Inherent Vice.” The New York Times got the first interview with the director about the movie, and it reveals interesting new details about what we can expect.
However, the first thing to note is that Anderson says that he had eye to adapt a different Thomas Pynchon book, “Vineland.” He couldn’t crack it and turned to “Inherent Vice” instead, writing the script at the same time as “The Master,” though he had doubts about returning to the same era and setting. “I thought, I don’t need to make a movie about California in the late ’60s, early ’70s! Didn’t I already do that?” he said. “Well, I didn’t. Like gravity, it didn’t pull in any but one direction. And I just couldn’t help myself.”
And so began a long process of not just penning the screenplay, but paring it down to a manageable size, and also making some changes to Pynchon’s work. First, he made the part of Doc Sportello’s friend Sortilège (played by musician Joanna Newsom) bigger, to the extent the character narrates the film, and one other thing —Anderson “wrote an outrageous new ending for the film that deviates significantly from the novel.”
Should Pynchon purists be alarmed? Probably not. The director and author apparently worked quite closely together, and the latter may even have a cameo in the movie, though Anderson won’t confirm or deny it (though Josh Brolin says the novelist “stayed in the corner”). And then there’s the tone of the movie, which sees Anderson looking to “Airplane!” and “Top Secret!” as inspirations for a particular madcap style, and film noir as a place where verisimilitude doesn’t matter.
“ ‘North by Northwest’? Tell me again how he gets to the middle of the field with a plane after him? I can’t,” Anderson said. “How does he get to Mount Rushmore? I don’t know, but it’s great.”
“Inherent Vice” premieres at the New York Film Festival next Saturday, opens in limited release on December 12th and goes wide on January 9th. And the first trailer is expected to arrive soon.