Upon first glance, Inherent Vice may not seem to possess the epic scope of director Paul Thomas Anderson’s sprawling There Will Be Blood or The Master. But maybe that’s just the hazy, Los Angeles sunshine that’s getting in your eyes, since Inherent Vice, recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, is a trip that’s definitely worth taking.
Actress Katherine Waterston gives a scene stealing (and possibly star in the making) performance as Shasta Fay Hepworth, the missing ex-girlfriend of bumbling private eye Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) in Inherent Vice.
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and based on Thomas Pynchon’s 1970s set novel, Inherent Vice is now playing in New York and Los Angeles (it opens nationwide January 9).
For Waterston, whose father is actor Sam Waterston (The Newsroom, Law & Order), the film isn’t just a sprawling ode to Los Angeles noir – it’s also a love story:
“I just so immediately loved Doc – his spirit and relentless optimism despite sort of being confused all the time. I didn’t want to simply create some kind of cruel femme fatale – I wanted the audience to respect him on some level, to see why he would care about her beyond just sort of sexual attraction or some kind of manipulation or control she had over him in that way. And I wanted there to be a genuine connection there. That was really important to me, and I thought it was really important in the film.”
To prepare for the role, Waterston watched “loads” of movies, especially flicks which contained exterior shots of Los Angeles. Click on the media bar to hear Waterston talk about her DVD (or maybe it was Blu-ray?) expedition, which often led her to the Santa Monica, Ca. spot Cinefile Video.
Joaquin Phoenix’s most frequent collaborations have come with director James Gray (The Immigrant, Two Lovers, The Yards, We Own The Night) and Inherent Vice marks his second cinematic experience with filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson (their first was the 2012 drama The Master).
During the interviews for Inherent Vice, Joaquin Phoenix talked about why he loves collaborating with Paul Thomas Anderson:
“He’s really inclusive and warm and thoughtful – He’s one of those people that makes you feel you’re important and you have value – even if you don’t. He deserves all the credit.”
Phoenix also added that Anderson’s approach to a scene isn’t based on rigid story structure, but instead the auteur enjoys exploring the creative avenues that each moment of film provides. Click on the media bar below to hear Phoenix’s full answer:
Co-starring Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, and Katherine Waterston, Inherent Vice opens in limited release December 12 and nationwide January 9, 2015.
Paul Thomas Anderson, who last collaborated with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix on The Master, traverses more comedic territory this time around, as he tackles an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel Inherent Vice.
A shaggy dog mystery featuring Joaquin Phoenix as a way in over his head private eye, Inherent Vice was screened for select press members at the New York Film Festival (as reported in this Indiewire piece).
I interviewed Josh Brolin, who plays police officer “Bigfoot” Bjornsen in the film, and during the chat he talked about working with Paul Thomas Anderson on Inherent Vice (the discussion occurred while Brolin was promoting the overlooked Spike Lee directed feature Oldboy, and he mentions his Oldboy character Joe Doucett in the clip):
Inherent Vice has a limited run December 12 (for Awards consideration) and opens nationwide January 9.