Paul Thomas Anderson’s “films have almost always revolved around a father son relationship” of sorts, “which can even be said of his newest” movie, “Inherent Vice.” So claims Chris Wallace in Interview magazine’s conversation with the writer-director whose latest film is up for both a Best Adapted Screenplay (for Anderson) and Best Costume Design (Mark Bridges) Oscar at this Sunday’s Academy Awards. “Inherent Vice” is the first film adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon novel; it stars Joaquin Phoenix as Larry “Doc” Sportello, a private investigator in L.A. in 1970 who finds himself in the midst of a convoluted missing persons plot.
Before “Inherent Vice” was even a passing thought, however, Anderson’s love for film bubbled inside him. He reveals, “I can remember being a kid thinking, ‘I’m going to make movies some day.’ I didn’t imagine what my filmography was, but I can imagine I probably thought, you know, I‘d be making action adventure films and all kinds… I didn’t know.” That sense of predestined outcome has driven the writer-director throughout his career. “I’ve never really been in a situation where I wrote something and decided not to make it, or couldn’t find financing, so I just put it away. There’s always sort of been one, following one thing after another. It’s just so weird how it happens.”
Wallace and Anderson also discuss “Southern California and its peculiarities,” the most frequent and explored setting for Anderson’s films, regardless of the time periods in which they take place. “I love it here,” Anderson explains. “I didn’t think I’d make so many movies here. It’s just kind of fallen off that way.” The trend continues with ‘Vice,’ which, like Anderson’s destiny as a filmmaker, almost seems preordained. He claims he has always tried to emulate and understand Pynchon. Now, as the only person to have adapted a Pynchon book, he comes as close as any can claim.
According to the late, great, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anderson is a consistently evolving director who reinvents himself on each picture he makes. Has he evolved further while making “Inherent Vice”? Do you, as a viewer, sense a growth or transformation in the helmer, his approach to filmmaking, and the stories he tells?
Perhaps reading the screenplay for “Inherent Vice” will help inform your opinion on the subject. If so, you’re in luck. Warner Bros. has made the For Your Consideration draft of the full screenplay available for download.
For more on “Inherent Vice,” Anderson’s interests as a filmmaker, his relationship with such iconic directors as Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme — as well as how Anderson’s relationship with his late father led to the aforementioned father/son currents in his films— listen to the full 25-minute interview below.
And for more Paul Thomas Anderson insight, you might want to check out this Movies Feature at Digital Spy, wherein the filmmaker discusses his favorite films. Little White Lies also has a recent interview with PTA for your continued reading pleasure.