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Tag: Paul Thomas Anderson (1-10 of 15)

'Inherent Vice' premiere: Paul Thomas Anderson doesn't get bogged down by plot

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Thomas Pynchon has written eight acclaimed novels, but no one had the brass to adapt one for the screen until Paul Thomas Anderson tackled Inherent Vice. The director’s second consecutive collaboration with Joaquin Phoenix was the centerpiece gala at the New York Film Festival, where it made its world premiere on Saturday. If the trailer for the film gave off a Big Lebowski vibe, that’s partially because both films are at least partially inspired by The Big Sleep, the classic 1946 noir with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. “I saw The Big Sleep and it made me realize I couldn’t follow any of it,” said Anderson, at a post-screening press conference. “And it didn’t matter, because I just wanted to see what was going to happen next anyway.”

The plot of Inherent Vice is equally impenetrable, a tangled web strewn with vivid characters from 1970 Los Angeles. Phoenix plays ‘Doc’ Sportello, a constantly buzzed private eye who’s drawn into a case of coincidences by the beauty who broke his heart, Shasta (Katherine Waterston). She’s been having an affair with a married billionaire (Eric Roberts) whose adulterous wife might want to put him away in a mental asylum in order to get all his money. When both Shasta and her billionaire boyfriend go missing, and Doc awakes from a blow to his head next to a dead body, he has to handle cops and killers, lawyers and sax players, Nazis and coke-headed dentists, and two mysterious entities known as the Golden Fang that may or may not have anything to do with each other.

The film is filled with humor, even as the stakes go up, the characters are stripped bare, and the haze of drug-use rises to fever-dream pitch. (There’s one sequence, with Martin Short’s unscrupulous dentist, that echoes the antsy psychedelia of Alfred Molina’s firecracker scene in Boogie Nights.) “Which is what I love so much about Paul’s work,” said Maya Rudolph, who plays Doc’s secretary. “It’s anything and everything, and yet it’s always his. It allows a scene like in Dr. Blaknoids office to be crazy and then something else to be dark and mysterious.” READ FULL STORY

Prepare to search for a Thomas Pynchon cameo in 'Inherent Vice'

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Famously reclusive author Thomas Pynchon will cameo in Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming adaptation of his novel Inherent Vice. READ FULL STORY

See Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in 'Inherent Vice'

We’ve already seen a glimpse of Joaquin Phoenix as Larry “Doc” Sportello, the stoner private investigator at the center of the much-anticipated adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice.

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Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' to debut at New York festival

Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, based on Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 crime novel, will debut at the New York Film Festival this October. The film, which reunites the director with Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) and also stars Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, and Benicio Del Toro, is scheduled to open in theaters on Dec. 12. READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: 'The Giver' gets its Jonas; Plus, 'Veep' star heads to 'Inherent Vice,' more

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• It’s been a while since we’ve heard any news about the film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s dystopian novel The Giver, but things are moving forward. Jeff Bridges has been attached to the project for over a year to play the Giver, and now, Brenton Thwaites has been cast as Jonas, the young boy chosen to be trained by the Giver.  Thwaites has appeared on a number of Australian televisions show and is also portraying the Young Prince in Maleficent. Fans of the book will remember we meet Jonas just as he’s about to turn 12. Thwaites is already in his 20s. Phillip Noyce (Patriot Games) is set to direct the project for The Weinstein Company. Filming will commence in South Africa this fall. [Deadline]

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Casting Net: Joaquin Phoenix and Paul Thomas Anderson, together again...maybe. Plus: a 'Best Man' sequel, Reese Witherspoon

Joaquin Phoenix is currently in talks to join Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, a classic Los Angeles noir set around the time of the Manson family arrest and trial. Robert Downey, Jr.’s name had been floating around the project for a little while, but we’ll be thrilled if Inherent Vice brings The Master duo together again. [Variety]

Reese Witherspoon is in talks to star in a film about the Lost Boys of Sudan – the name given to the over 20,000 boys who were displaced after the devastating Second Sudanese Civil War. Reportedly titled The Good LieMargaret Nagle (Boardwalk Empire) wrote the screenplay, and Philippe Falardeau (Monsieur Lazhar) is set to direct. Witherspoon has not had a theatrical release since This Means War, but she can be seen in Jeff Nichols’ (Take ShelterMud, opening in theaters on April 26. [The Wrap]

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James Franco 'wasn't scared enough' to have a role in 'The Master'

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At an Austin Film Festival panel discussion on Friday afternoon, James Franco revealed how Paul Thomas Anderson courted him for the role of Freddie Quell, since brought to vivid life by Joaquin Phoenix, in The Master. The actor-director-hyphenate extraordinaire was in town to present Francophrenia, his experimental documentary about his time playing the smirking villain Franco on the ABC soap opera General Hospital.

Towards the end of the 75-minute conversation, an audience member asked Franco to discuss a specific movie role on his resume that had initially intimidated him. Franco couldn’t really think of one, which reminded him of a funny story.

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Why I fell out of love with the films of Paul Thomas Anderson

\If I were to compile a list of my ten favorite movie experiences in the time I’ve been at EW, for number one — just edging out the night I spent drinking into the wee hours with Russell Crowe — I’d probably have to choose the first time I saw Boogie Nights at the 1997 Toronto Film Festival. It was a little like the first time I saw Pulp FictionBoogie Nights had that kind of virtuoso rock & roll Gen-X Scorsese dazzle, and it gave you that kind of brain-spinning cinematic high. Its writer-director, Paul Thomas Anderson, had taken on the most daringly degraded subject matter imaginable (he made a movie about beautiful dumb clucks who “acted” in porn films and thought that they were real stars), and out of that audacity he spun a story that was dark, exhilarating, moving, scary, and true. READ FULL STORY

'The Master' extended NSFW trailer features scenes cut from film -- VIDEO

Paul Thomas Anderson released the final trailer for The Master yesterday, revealing footage that didn’t make the final cut of his critically acclaimed film. The new scenes reaffirm Joaquin Phoenix’s character Freddie Quell’s erratic, unpredictable, and animalistic nature, while stressing Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character Lancaster Dodd’s charisma, charm, and perversion. Watch it below.

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'The Master': Do you care if it's about Scientology?

Paul Thomas Anderson sounds tired of talking about it. Philip Seymour Hoffman is straight-up sick of it. And yet the question won’t go away: How much of The Master is really about Scientology? Anderson has admitted that L. Ron Hubbard was part of the inspiration for his new movie (out this weekend in limited release), in which Hoffman stars as Lancaster Dodd, a cult leader with a team of disciples (played by Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, and Laura Dern, among others) who cling to his every vague pronouncement about the secrets of life. Like Hubbard, Dodd is an avid seaman who preaches an enticing mix of pseudoscience and pop psych in the 1950s. But Anderson has been clear that Hubbard was only one of many influences on his movie, while Hoffman has flat-out said The Master is “not a Scientology movie.”

It’s easy to understand why plenty of people (myself included) would love it if The Master really were a Scientology roman à clef. Who wouldn’t want to see a behind-the-curtain origin story of one of the most-discussed, least-understood religious movements in recent history? The Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes divorce only makes the matter even more timely. And “the Scientology movie” is certainly a quicker read (not to mention an easier sell) than a more nuanced description of the sprawling, purposefully open-ended movie.

But lurking behind the “Is it or isn’t it?” debate is another question that deserves an answer: Why does it matter? To quote Roger Ebert entirely out of context, “It’s not what a movie is about, but how it’s about it.” Any movie — and certainly one with such a pedigreed cast and crew — deserves to be judged on its merits as art and entertainment, not just as social commentary. The Master isn’t a thinly veiled biopic like Citizen Kane or a not-veiled-at-all exposé like The Social Network. If the movie connects with viewers (and so far it’s doing a pretty solid job), it’ll undoubtedly have a lot more to do with its success as a drama than any link — real or imagined — to Scientology.

But that’s just one opinion. What do you think? Do you care if The Master is about Scientology?

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