Paul Thomas Anderson was met with a ton of skepticism when he announced that Inherent Vice would be the follow-up to his to 2012 film, The Master. The source material — Thomas Pynchon's dizzying novel of the same name — has long been considered unfilmable, with its serpentine narrative and a cast of characters so vast that it makes Game of Thrones look like an intimate two-hander.
But, the virtuoso filmmaker who brought us Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood has never been one to back down from a challenge. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Anderson revealed that he painstakingly adapted the entire novel sentence by sentence. "I basically just transcribed it so I could look at it like it was a script,” he said. “It looked like a doorstop. But I can understand this format. As big as it was, it was easier for me to cut down.”
Inherent Vice follows Joaquin Phoenix's hazy detective Doc Sportello, who becomes embroiled in a kooky, far-reaching conspiracy after his ex-girlfriend asks him to investigate a mystery. Along the way, he meets a cavalcade of eccentrics, stoners, and eccentric stoners who populate Pynchon's psychedelic vision of '70s L.A. As usual, Anderson attracted a top tier cast that includes Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, and Anderson's real-life wife, Maya Rudolph.
Despite its comedic tone and cosmic energy, this one has Oscar written all over it. Inherent Vice will have its world premiere on October 4 at the New York Film Festival, and opens wide on December 12.
Watch the trippy first trailer below.