Paul Thomas Anderson Writing Adaptation of INHERENT VICE; Planning to Adapt GRAVITY’S RAINBOW [Correction]

by     Posted 1 year, 322 days ago

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Back in December 2010, we reported that writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson was considering an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon‘s Inherent Vice possibly starring Robert Downey Jr. as pothead private detective Larry “Doc” Sportello.  In 2011, Anderson tried to get financing for Vice along with his upcoming film The Master, which recently premiered at the Venice Film Festival, play at TIFF, and then open in limited release on September 14th.  Anderson has now turned his attention back to Inherent Vice and is currently working on the script.

Hit the jump for more including how Inherent Vice isn’t the only Pynchon novel on Anderson’s radar.

inherent_vice_book_cover_01For those unfamiliar with Inherent Vice, the story takes place in 1969 Los Angeles and has Sportello [per Empire] “helping a former lover with an intriguing and ever-so-complicated, shaggy-dog-story of a case involving infidelity, mental institutions and policemen called ‘Bigfoot’.”  Anderson didn’t reveal any specific details about his adaptation other than to say, it will be “like a Cheech and Chong movie.  [Adapting Pychon's work is] just gonna be great and, hopefully, fun.”

Even the funniest moments in Anderson’s movies have been tinged with sadness, so I’m curious to see him go into a mode that may be more broadly comic.

Anderson also revealed he’s hoping to adapt Pynchon’s acclaimed novel Gravity’s Rainbow, which won the 1974 National Book Award for Fiction.  Per Wikipedia,

“The narrative is set primarily in Europe at the end of World War II and centers on the design, production and dispatch of V-2 rockets by the German military, and, in particular, the quest undertaken by several characters to uncover the secret of a mysterious device named the “Schwarzgerät” (“black device”) that is to be installed in a rocket with the serial number “00000.”

On adapting Gravity’s Rainbow, Anderson says:

“There’s so much. But it’s fun too, be because they’re his words, and… it’s like taking your dad’s car for a ride, y’know?”

As for when we can expect to see Gravity’s Rainbow, Anderson isn’t sure:

“Hopefully not long. I’d like to have a few years of being more productive. But we’ll see.”

I haven’t read Inherent Vice and Gravity’s Rainbow yet, so I open the floor to those who have: is Anderson the right guy to tackle these adaptations?

[Correction: I misread the text of Empire's article.  Here's the confusing text:

But although Anderson has been working on bringing the Gravity Rainbow author's most accessible work to the big screen for several years, it's not clear exactly when it will happen.

Since I haven't read either book, I didn't know Empire was referring to Inherent Vice as Pynchon's most accessible work and not Gravity's Rainbow.  At this time, it looks like there are no plans to adapt Gravity's Rainbow.]




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  • Tofer

    God, I hated Inherent Vice. I really wish he would choose a different project…

    • Thomas Evans

      Gravity’s Rainbow could actually constitute a quite accessible film. All you would have to do would be to condense all the digressive aspects of the narrative, as well as the profuse sexual content, into symbolism which is integrated into the design/dialogue. Such symbolism would then constitute a subliminal narrative underlying the obvious surface narrative of a WWII plot line, much as it is presented in the book, albeit due to the nature of the medium in which it is presented it appears chaotic and disjointed. You would wind up with a rather disturbing, yet mainstream, film, probably rated PG-13 or R. Of course, the screenwriter/director would have to understand the symbolism of the book in order to render it visually, but aside from that, with multiple million dollars of studio support, it could quite easily be accomplished. Hey!

  • stove

    Pynchon is one of the greatest authors we have with us today. He is challenging, thoughtful, completely original and turns fiction into higher art. But like many good pieces of art, it is not for everyone. Since i’d only be repeating myself when describing PTA, i’ll just add that he was the first to realize how entertaining it is to hear Tom Cruise say the most offense things ever. This is the type of project that seems like a perfectly strange combination, like bacon on a maple bar donut. This is like hearing Peter Jackson is doing LOTR or Chris Nolan got handed Batman for the the first time. I couldn’t be more excited for this pairing!!!!! With that said, does anyone know how to hand Robert Rodriquez the Preacher series?

    • Rick

      Good call on Rodriguez doing Preacher. Tarantino would be ideal but that aint gonna happen. Joe Carnahan would be good too, although Shane Black would probably be even better.

  • Keegan

    PTA is maybe my favorite director of all time but I’m not crazy on either of these projects. But since he’s at the helm of the production, we can only expect insanity inspired greatness.

  • Keegan

    PTA is maybe my favorite director of all time but I\’m not crazy on either of these projects. But since he\’s at the helm of the production, we can only expect insanity inspired greatness.

  • Rick

    Good call on Rodriguez doing Preacher. Tarantino would be ideal but that aint gonna happen. Joe Carnahan would be good too, although Shane Black would probably be even better

  • Strong Enough

    more original movies

  • Bigfiction

    I read Inherent Vice after this PTA project was announced awhile back. As a fan of all Anderson’s films I believe he is going to do something great with Vice. I have heard Inherent Vice called Pynchon’s most accessible work before, so that is probably how the article is meant to read. Inherent Vice at a glance appears to be a Big Lebowski copty-cat, but as a huge fan of that film I have to say that the two projects are very separate from one another. Sportello is a more grounded character than the Dude, more like Sam Elliot’s narrator, but still high all the time. Downey Jr, is spot on casting and I think Anderson’s comedic touch as seen in Boogie Nights and Punch Drunk Love is a good indication of where Vice is headed

  • Bigfiction

    I read Inherent Vice after this PTA project was announced awhile back. As a fan of all Anderson\’s films I believe he is going to do something great with Vice. I have heard Inherent Vice called Pynchon\’s most accessible work before, so that is probably how the article is meant to read. Inherent Vice at a glance appears to be a Big Lebowski copty-cat, but as a huge fan of that film I have to say that the two projects are very separate from one another. Sportello is a more grounded character than the Dude, more like Sam Elliot\’s narrator, but still high all the time. Downey Jr, is spot on casting and I think Anderson\’s comedic touch as seen in Boogie Nights and Punch Drunk Love is a good indication of where Vice is headed

  • Tyrone Slothrop

    Arguable, I am Gravity’s Rainbow’s main man… but I am going to be a bitch if anyone tries adapting me. Anyone wanting to try and make the book into a film can. Seeing, though, as we’re maybe 1 character short of a city and 1 city short of the world, it might come with some challenges. That said PTA is the only man for the job.

    On another note I think this article is real trash for getting my hopes up the way it did, and as a short aside, Gravity’s Rainbow is one of the toughest and most rewarding books to read if you dig hyperrealism/postmodernism, and literally impossible to envision filmed. I am about 3/4ths done, 4 years and a couple hundred other books later.

    • 00000gerat

      It gets better every time stay ‘in the zone’ fourth time around and it is becoming terrifyingly easy to follow pirate in my dreams, getting my erections

  • der springer

    simply ridicolous

  • Geli Tripping

    Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Lindsay Anderson . . . who cares, though if I had to choose, the last would have been the most qualified to adapt Pynchon to the screen. Leave it alone. Find your own stories. Not every book is waiting to become a film and what hubris to think yourself qualified to adapt “Gravity’s Rainbow”. What has PTA ever made to even think he could take that project on?

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