By Benjamin Wright | The Playlist December 10, 2011 at 11:06AM
In a time where there seems to be a constant focus on set photos and early looks, it’s reassuring to see distinguished auteur Paul Thomas Anderson’s next untitled offering (aka “The Master”) make its way to theaters so quietly. But this week has seen the spotlight shined back on the work of the director with looks at what he's working on right now and a hint at what may come after that.
First, BlackBook offers a few classy behind-the-scenes photos from Anderson’s latest, which is set to follow a lonely drifter (Joaquin Phoenix) who is picked up by a group of religious zealots dedicated to “The Cause,” led by the titular religious master (Phillip Seymour Hoffman). Most likely on many lists for most anticipated films of 2012, “The Master” takes place in the 1950s, and these pictures by photographer Jack Erling provide us with a look at the intricate detail going into the period garb of many of the film’s extras. Thankfully, they’re all a far cry from the sort of grainy, camera phone quality behind-the-scene images that film bloggers have grown to devour. The authenticity and attention to detail seems unparalleled by any costume drama this writer has seen lately, and maybe it’s the black-and-white photography, but you could probably leave these in your grandmother’s picture box and they’d fit right in.
Also, while doing the press rounds for “Sherlock Holmes: Book of Shadows,” blockbuster star Robert Downey Jr. had some fuel to add to the fire about his potential collaboration with Anderson on the adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s “Inherent Vice." News about Anderson adapting Pynchon’s psychedelic noir novel first came up this time last year after Universal bailed on “The Master,” leaving it searching for financing. Word then cropped up that it might shoot as early as this past fall. As we now know, "The Master" pulled together and got in front of cameras instead, but it looks as if RDJ is still eager to work with someone he refers to as “one of our great American directors.” While talking to MTV, Downey Jr. teased, "Anything to do with Paul Thomas Anderson and I doing a movie together is probably true," said Downey. "We tend to talk about a variety of potential projects, and Thomas Pynchon's 'Inherent Vice' could be great, we'll see."
So it still may be awhile before we see the Anderson-penned adaptation of Pynchon’s work. The director will be busy with "The Master" for the next little while as it gears up to hit theaters at the end of 2012, and Anderson has never taken less than two years between films (his fastest output was the two year gap between "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia" while the longest was five years between "Punch Drunk Love" and "There Will Be Blood"). Still, "Inherent Vice" is interesting for both the director and his potential star so here's hoping it stays on the radar for both of them.