The project was initially set up with an eye for Robert Downey, Jr. to take the lead, which would have been amazing. But after Downey, Jr. ultimately passed on the project, Joaquin Phoenix stepped in to take the lead as Larry ‘Doc’ Sportello in his place, and our anticipation hasn’t dissipated.
Casting has been coming along incredibly well in recent weeks, and now Deadline report that relative newcomer Katherine Waterson has landed the female lead, and Josh Brolin is joining the cast alongside her.
We’d previously thought that Reese Witherspoon might be playing Shasta Fay, but instead that role has gone to the young Waterson, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what she brings to the role.
There’s no word yet on who Brolin will be playing, but his role is described as a key one, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s that of the LAPD cop, ‘Bigfoot’ Bjornsen, who is described as ‘One of America’s true badasses’ in the book.
Courtesy of Waterstones, here’s the synopsis for the original novel:
Part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon – private eye Doc Sportello comes, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era as free love slips away and paranoia creeps in with the L.A. fog. It’s been awhile since Doc Sportello has seen his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly out of nowhere she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. Easy for her to say. It’s the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that ‘love’ is another of those words going around at the moment, like ‘trip’ or ‘groovy’, except that this one usually leads to trouble. Despite which he soon finds himself drawn into a bizarre tangle of motives and passions whose cast of characters includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, a tenor sax player working undercover, an ex-con with a swastika tattoo and a fondness for Ethel Merman, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists.
The cast is definitely lining up nicely, with Phoenix leading now alongside Katherine Waterson, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Josh Brolin, Jena Malone, Benicio del Toro, and Martin Short, with Sean Penn reportedly circling a role too.
Anderson is directing from his own script, based on the original novel by Thomas Pynchon. And whilst there’s not been any official confirmation, it certainly sounds like Pynchon may have been involved with the project, beyond giving Anderson the go-ahead to adapt.
Inherent Vice will be shooting this summer, and its arrival in cinemas can’t come fast enough.