Adapting the work of reclusive literary genius Thomas Pynchon seems like a fool's errand. His novels -- "Gravity's Rainbow" and "The Crying of Lot 49" -- among others, feature dense plotting, allegorical whimsy, and are stuffed so full of characters that any screenwriter stupid enough to attempt an adaptation must be suicidal. Unless that book is his latest "Inherent Vice" and unless the person adapting it is Paul Thomas Anderson.
Acquired just over a year ago by CAA, "Inherent Vice" is now headed to the big screen. Vulture reports Anderson is hard at work adapting the book and while it's not quite clear how far he's gotten so far, apparently a treatment might already be done and he may be in the first stages of penning the script. And certainly, any Anderson project is a hot one and CAA who are repping the project "has been pondering the idea of trying to attach Robert Downey Jr. as Doc Sportello." So, that's basically a fancy way of saying he's on a wishlist and as Vulture notes, Robert Downey Jr.'s schedule is pretty much crammed for the next year as work on two major tentpoles, "The Avengers" and "Oz The Great And Powerful" (and that packed calendar recently forced him to drop out of Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity").
Certainly, "Inherent Vice" is the most filmable of any Pynchon book. The 384-page "novella" follows a private detective uncovering a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer in drug-kissed 1960s Los Angeles. Many reviewers have even drawn comparisons to the psychedelic noir of "The Big Lebowski." Downey Jr. is being eyed for the leading role of the blissed-out investigator, but obviously, these are very early stages.
No word yet on what this means for Anderson's gestating Scientology/religious cult drama "The Master." Last we heard, the project was postponed indefinitely with Jeremy Renner hinting that Anderson was still getting the script and story to a place he liked, but we hoped that one hasn't fallen to the wayside.
"Inherent Vice" will mark the second project based off a previously published work and it remains to be seen if Anderson will stick to the pages of Pynchon's work or, like he did with "Oil!" by Upton Sinclair (which was turned into "There Will Be Blood"), spin it into something uniquely his own.