Anything that happened to surface on the internet from Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice has immediately gone viral. And on this rainy Saturday afternoon, the first crowd of lucky moviegoers caught a glimpse of the anticipated movie starring Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Jena Malone and Maya Rudolph, which is having its World Premiere as the Centerpiece of the 52nd New York Film Festival.
“It’s playing tonight at the Alice Tully Hall” said Anderson, referring to the theater’s 35mm projection of the film. “Luckily, we’re able to still keep that alive and keep that going. It’s something I started doing back in the beginning so it’s the only way I know how to do it.”
Anderson adapted the crime-drama (and comedy) from the novel by Thomas Pynchon. “It’s kind of a dream come true…,” said Anderson Saturday afternoon at an on-stage conversation with his cast at the Walter Reade Theater. Filming began on Inherent Vice in spring 2013.
Set in a dope-filled Los Angeles in the 1970s, Phoenix plays Doc Sportello, a private investigator searching for his ex-girlfriend Shasta (Katherine Waterston), but his search is hindered by the telegenic police detective “Bigfoot” Bjornsen (Brolin). “Inherent Vice” refers to a hidden defect—or the very nature—of a physical object that causes it to deteriorate because of the fundamental instability of its components. “We were trying to be as faithful to the feeling of the book as possible,” said Anderson at NYFF.
The attending cast of the film reflected on the process of working with Anderson as he adapted this novel for the screen. “For me it didn’t feel like chaos but certainly receptiveness to change a plan based on a momentary instinct,” said Joanna Newsom. “The first shot of the movie was not on any sides I got.”
“Working with Paul was the best creative experience I’ve ever had,” Katherine Waterston shared. “I don’t really know how he does what he does or what he wants or why he creates the spirit on set, but it’s really conducive to make good work. It was a great experience.”