If you can find Paul Thomas Anderson, then you've found the set of "Inherent Vice," the first Thomas Pynchon novel ever to be made into a film.
Anderson is currently filming on the streets of Los Angeles. The L.A. Times blog Company Town reports that "Inherent Vice" has recently been filming in the San Fernando Valley; on Tuesday the film was shooting at a storefront on West Slauson Avenue.
The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as Doc Sportello, a perpetually stoned detective who gets tangled up in something that might be a sordid conspiracy of criminals -- or maybe that's just the hallucinogens kicking in.
The story goes something like this: Doc is asked by his ex-girlfriend Shasta to help her married lover, real estate mogul Mickey Wolfmann, whose wife is plotting against him with her lover. Doc is rousted by the cops for a murder he didn't commit, and once he shakes free, Shasta and Mickey are both missing. No cash, no client, but he investigates anyway.
It's an intelligently goofy mash-up of noir and California hippie culture, threaded with lots of Pynchonian wierdness (a link to our book review is at left).
Another Hollywood star connected to the film is Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon - while her character name doesn't yet appear on IMDB, this is just a guess, but she's probably Mrs. Mickey Woldmann, the double-dealing wife. Shasta is being played by Katherine Waterston (daughter of Sam).
Owen Wilson is Coy Harlingen, a minor surf band rock star who has faked his own death. Sean Penn is rumored to be lined up to play Adrian Prussia, a slippery hit man. Benecio Del Toro, according to IMDB, will play Sauncho Smilax, Sportello's lawyer -- the role sounds like a throwback to the one Del Toro played long ago in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," but again, I'm just guessing. I haven't seen the script.
What I have seen are the pictures that the Paul Thomas Anderson fan site Cigarettes and Red Vines posted online Tuesday. These very unofficial location photos include Joaquin Phoenix outfitted as Sportello. There's also Maya Rudolph, Anderson's partner; the black wig, double-knit mint polyester dress and sixties makeup indicate she's in costume (while being, incidentally, enormously pregnant).
Anderson wrote the script; Pynchon wrote the novel. Earlier this year, Anderson declined to discuss whether he'd met the reclusive author -- but that hasn't stopped people from speculating that Pynchon will make a quiet appearance in the film, Hitchcock-style.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun