We asked actress Katherine Waterston about her experience working with acclaimed Director Paul Thomas Anderson, and the complexity of the film. Waterston shared,
“I like to watch all of Paul’s movies numerous times because he doesn’t short change you, there’s so much to see. For me it’s a treat. Not that what you get from it the first time isn’t enough. …I think it’s part of the effectiveness of the filmmaking.
When you’re reading the book it’s [meant] to feel the world that Doc [Joaquin Phoenix] is living in is confusing. So I would only watch it again for the f*cking fun of it. People have described [Paul Thomas Anderson’s] style as chaotic, but it’s just his means to an end.
A freer way of working and the result is he is able to encapsulate the feelings and themes from the book without seeing the strings. So It works the way he does it. But it’s also just more fun because you don’t feel a pressure”
Inherent Vice is the first attempt to adapt the work of author Thomas Pynchon to the big screen. Married with the unique vision of Director Paul Thomas Anderson, we were curious about the effects these specific styles may have had on the actors’ performances.
We asked stars Owen Wilson and Jena Malone if this combination had a positive or negative effect on their work.
Wilson: “Nothing felt restrictive. You knew you were going to get a million chances so you could always try a different way. It sounded like you were going off script a little more [to Malone] but we were always saying the lines in the script.”
Malone: “Ours wasn’t all one take though so there was more room for playing around. I never read the novel so when I read the script so it felt like such a Paul Thomas Anderson film. I felt him all over it in terms of his humor, or the sadness of the love story, or the strange lessons learned in abstract ways. I didn’t feel like it was this rigid thing we were entering. [We had] such beautiful source material and Paul has made such wonderful films, it made it MORE exciting.”
When we spoke to the star of the film Joaquin Phoenix we asked him about the similarities between his personal life and the character of Doc Sportello. He said,
“I don’t know if it really serves me to over examine it. Usually it reveals itself through the process and that’s really whats good about most characters. There’s some element that connects to everyone.”
We previously discussed some of the challenges of adapting the complex and dense work of Thomas Pynchon with Director Paul Thomas Anderson, so we asked Mr. Phoenix if he ever had a moment on set where he thought “What am I doing?!?” to which he responded,
“It was almost everyday, but I tried to cultivate that. It’s something Paul and I would do. Because you are merging different characters from the book. Sometimes he would take some dialogue one character would say and give them to other characters in the script. So there would be moments when I would be genuinely confused because I would remember the discussion from the book.
He would stir this up to where I suddenly didn’t know, like ‘Oh in this version, in Paul’s adaptation, this character is taking on the qualities of this other character.’ So he always stirred up this feeling of uncertainty in me, not knowing where I stood. That was like everyday. It was the experience I wanted. That was the experience Doc had not knowing what was going to happen next.”
We rounded out our conversation by asking him about the special collaboration he shares with Paul Thomas Anderson and why he finds inspiration working with him again.
“I think anyone who collaborates with him [Anderson] is going to do well, I wish I could take credit for half of it but I don’t think that’s deserved. If he wanted to make a conventional movie he could make it better than anybody. Any type of movie out there he could do it. But I think what I like so much about him is he never takes the easy way.”
Inherent Vice releases in cinemas 30 January 2015