Friday, September 26, 2014

PTA Gives First Interview On Inherent Vice, Hints At Pynchon Cameo, Ending Change

Todd Heisler/The New York Times
A splendid read found its way over to The New York Times today, and it has Paul Thomas Anderson speaking out publicly for the first time about his work Inherent Vice

The piece, among other things, asserts that the notoriously elusive author behind the film, Thomas Pynchon, will actually have a cameo appearance in the picture. PTA remains coy about that fact, while other sources (including Brolin) maintain its truth.

In discussing what drew him to the project, PTA said he had been aspiring to adapt Pynchon for a while.
Years ago, Mr. Anderson considered adapting [Pynchon's 1990 novel] "Vineland," but ultimately couldn't figure out how. When "Inherent Vice" was issued in 2009, he was drawn to it - and wrote the film concurrently with his script for 2012's "The Master."
"I thought, I don't need to make a movie about California in the late '60s, early '70s!  Didn't I already do that?" Mr. Anderson said, referring to his 1997 breakthrough, "Boogie Nights," "Well, I didn't. Like gravity, it didn't pull in any but one direction. And I just couldn't help myself."
Todd Heisler/The New York Times
On the process of adapting the novel:
To get a grip on the project, [PTA] adapted the entire 384-page 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."
Along with The Long Goodbye, PTA was also inspired by Kiss Me Deadly and The Big Sleep, film noirs whose "plausibility rarely mattered as much as the pleasure of the filmmaking."
“ ‘North by Northwest’?” he said. “Tell me again how he gets to the middle of the field with a plane after him? I can’t. How does he get to Mount Rushmore? I don’t know, but it’s great.”
Mr. Anderson said his adaptation came into focus when he recalled an old quote from “Chandler or Hammett or one of those guys who said the point of a plot in a detective movie is to get your hero to the next girl to flirt with.” After that, he said, his approach became, “When’s the next girl or funny bit going to happen?”
On top of those more formal influences, PTA turned to the sight gags and physical comedy of Zucker Bros. films as a filmic equivalent for the humor in the book.
“I thought,” Mr. Anderson explained, “What’s something I’ve seen that can get close to that amount of great visual information and all these things going on in the frame?”
“ ‘Police Squad!’ and ‘Top Secret!’ are what I clued into,” he said, referring to collaborations by the slapstick maestros David and Jerry Zucker. “We tried hard to imitate or rip off the Zucker brothers’ style of gags so the film can feel like the book feels: just packed with stuff. And fun.” 
The piece goes on to verify that musician Joanna Newsom, whom we reported was participating in the film many months ago, is playing the part of Sortilège, also narrating the film. According to the interview, PTA also wrote a new ending for the movie, its biggest difference from the book.

There are some nice quotes from Joaquin Phoenix and Josh Brolin in the piece, as well as PTA discussing the underlying sadness of the material. Read it in its entirety RIGHT HERE.

Wilson Webb

P.S. If you take a wander over to this page, you'll see that information regarding the first trailer for Inherent Vice has been disclosed in Alberta. We've had some correspondence with the ratings board there and can verify that, in Canada at least, the Inherent Vice trailer is very real and runs just over two minutes in length. What we are not quite sure of yet is when or how it will drop. We imagine it will be sooner rather than later.

IV (theatrical premiere): 77 days
IV (world premiere at NYFF): 8 days (!)

Find more information about the film on our Inherent Vice page. 
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  1. Wow, I woke up this morning wishing for a trailer, but this is even more satisfying!

  2. And we're off!

    The run-up in the months before a new PTA release is always so much fun, great time to be a cinephile. The glimpses into his process, his casual interview style which is always a pleasure to watch and read, the great movies - from the classic to the obscure - that influenced the new work, anecdotes from the actors and crew, all the promotional material, the intriguing word of mouth as critics and festival-goers start seeing the movie, love it, hate it, don't know quite what to make of it, and then of course the movie itself! :D

  3. wait wait wait. is that PTA or Thom Yorke? :)

  4. I bought a copy if the Times, but I couldn't find the story. There's a feature on 'Gone Girl' but I couldn't find anything about PTA or Inherent Vice :(

  5. Really great documentary on Pynchon sheds some light on his living in so-cal in the 60-70's Manhattan beach ( Gordita) in the book his inspiration for Inherent Vice, gives u a good look at what u might come to expect from this kind of story/writer.