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Reese Witherspoon Finally Gets To Work With Paul Thomas Anderson As She Signs For 'Inherent Vice'

by Oliver Lyttelton
May 15, 2013 8:30 PM
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Reese Witherspoon

Update: The Wrap report that Martin Short and Jena Malone have also joined the cast.

It's lost to the mists of time now, but when the project first emerged, there was talk that Reese Witherspoon was going to appear in Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," as Peggy, the manipulative wife of Lancaster Dodd. For whatever reason (let's hope it wasn't a scheduling conflict with "This Means War"), it didn't come to pass (Amy Adams took the role), but it seems like Witherspoon and PTA are still mutual admirers, as Deadline bring news that the actress has just signed on to the director's new project, "Inherent Vice."

The actress -- who's had a flurry of activity of late, after making tabloid headlines for her recent arrest -- joins Joaquin Phoenix, Benicio Del Toro, Owen Wilson and Kevin J Anderson as the signed cast so far. There's no confirmation as to who she'll playing, but our guess is that she'll be Shasta Fay Hepworth, the ex girlfriend of Doc Sportello (Phoenix), who sets the plot in motion, though she could also be Hope Harlingen, the supposed widow of missing musician Coy. It's also a "Walk The Line" reunion of sorts as Phoenix and Reese both took their excellent chemistry all the way to the Oscars (she won, he got nominated).

Anyway, it's good news for Witherspoon, who's course-correcting after a series of disappointments by working with the likes of Jeff Nichols (on current sleeper hit "Mud,") Atom Egoyan (on "Devil's Knot") and PTA. Filming gets underway any day now, and Warner Bros will be releasing the picture, hopefully some time in 2014.

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  • David Stanley the Porn Director | May 16, 2013 12:52 PMReply

    MARTIN SHORT IN PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON LAND? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! I was hoping for Andrea Martin as Aunt Reet, but this will definitely do. I can't wait to see Robert Elswit's light on his face. Forget whatever horrible dogshit he's been in for the better part of the last three decades. He was on SCTV. He's Jackie Rogers Jr. He's Brock Linahan. He's Ed Grimley.

    I'm not the biggest Reese Witherspoon fan. I would preferred Kirsten Dunst. But I'll go with it. I'm sure she'll come off great.

    Jena Malone is a great pic. She's great in The Messenger. And Donnie Darko. She seems crazy, which is perfect for this part.

    All these big names is making this feel more and more like a sprawling, late 60's Atlman-y, but also kinda "Candy"-ish thing. Pynchon's book is drenched with an anything-goes sensibility which would pair up with this style of psychedelic La Ronde kinda of filmmaking, like a nice wine and cheese, so I'm psyched. Edelecized.

    I wonder who's gonna do the music. My vote wouldn't be Jonny Greenwood necessarily. Or Jon Brion. But someone like Van Dyke Parks. Or Donald Fagen. Or Marvin Hamlisch if he was still alive. Or David Sitek from TV on the Radio. Or Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine. Or Avey Tare.

    I would so love to make a Thomas Pynchon movie. The thickness you could put in it. The downright psychedelic density. I would love to tread in these waters. Love to swim in that soup.

    Someday I will make a movie that doesn't have cum in it.

    I promise.

    (would also love to have Panda Bear do this soundtrack, in the style of "Person Pitch")

  • hank | May 16, 2013 12:01 PMReply

    OMFG Martin Short.

  • pepe | May 16, 2013 11:22 AMReply

    sean penn and jim carrey are on board

  • sv | May 16, 2013 9:40 AMReply

    Hopefully she brings more than one spoon

  • Delia | May 16, 2013 8:55 AMReply

    I think Charlize Theron is perfect for Shasta and Reese Witherspoon for the mother.

  • Rotun | May 16, 2013 7:39 AMReply

    It went a yards reunion to a walk the line reunion.

    Malone is playing Coy according to the wrap, shes the dame that asks Doc for help.

    I hope Short plays Mickey Wolfman and Reese plays the D.A chick ( if reese plays the D.A chick thats a great fit

    I am suprised more people arent at del toro. Yes hes amazing but the Sancho is like mid Twenties -late twenties,del toro looks 40

  • droop | May 16, 2013 7:27 AMReply

    honestly i would much rather have witherspoon than theron, i have no idea whether they were up for the same part, but remembering pleasantville, election, walk the line, and honestly legally blonde (im not saying the movie's a gem, but come on, she gives a pretty awesome performance) i welcome this news with open arms. she can be pretty fcuking good when given the right material, whereas theron is (excluding monster obviously) rarely anything but a pretty face. im not saying she's bad she's just always.... charlize theron

  • oogle monster | May 16, 2013 11:10 AM

    You must not have seen Young Adult. It's even better than her perf in Monster. She proved she's a once in a generation talent in that film. Witherspoon doesn't come close to that (although Election is pretty great).

  • Delia | May 16, 2013 8:59 AM

    She's always Charlize Theron? I think it's exactly the opposite. She always disappears into character. She's not one of these actors who is always playing herself. She's the epitome of more than a pretty face. All her roles in the last decade play against the pretty face if anything. Reese Witherspoon was only good when she was really young.

  • RL | May 16, 2013 5:19 AMReply

    We're not sure if she sets to play Shasta.I think it'd be better she plays Hope(But Hope is not a big part,too small to use A listers).Speaking of the age,I think Theron is a little older for Shasta,too.I was hoping PTA could bring a younger face here for Shasta, know,I trust his choice.As for Bigfoot,would PTA pick Philip Seymour Hoffman again?

  • Anon | May 16, 2013 3:53 AMReply

    Still want Michael Shannon to play Bigfoot.

  • Michael | May 16, 2013 12:05 AMReply

    Although Joaquin and Witherspoon have established past chemistry, I was hoping for someone who could fulfill a 'Femme Fatale' role more efficiently, Cotillard would be a prime example. I mean Reese isn't the most subversive or lucrative vixen to have graced us on the screen.

  • jon | May 16, 2013 12:01 AMReply

    Forget about Reese -- MARTIN SHORT IS IN THIS!

  • A Baby Named Jesus | May 15, 2013 10:53 PMReply

    This is a great part for Witherspoon. She'll be excellent in this. I think this latest string of films she's been working on will revive her career. So glad she's doing great films again. Welcome back, Reese.

  • Peter | May 15, 2013 10:15 PMReply

    Please! Recast her!

  • Damiam | May 15, 2013 10:03 PMReply

    Isn't Joaquin's character supposed to be 28 in the novel? No one complained he was too old when it was announced he had been cast. I'm actually glad PTA aged up the role if Witherspoon is playing Shasta. Their aren't enough major films where an actor over the age of 35 is paired up with a female love interest that's around the same age (Reese is only two years younger than Joaquin). Anyways, Witherspoon has proved that she's capable of excellent work (Election, Walk The Line, Freeway and Legally Blonde) so I'm quite intrigued to see her take on Shasta...

  • Amateur Seasalt Gatherer | May 15, 2013 9:47 PMReply

    Ugh. PTA should really be a little more inspired in his casting.

  • Amateur Seasalt Gatherer | May 16, 2013 10:24 AM

    Uninspired because she is an obvious A-list choice. Using people like Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly and even Wahlberg relatively early in their film careers was inspired, and I miss that sense of discovery and surprise. But, as you say, casting Adams in 'The Master' was also very obvious (she's considered for everything these days), and that turned out all right. This probably will be fine, too. For what it's worth, I also regret PTA going with Phoenix over original choice Robert Downey, Jr., who would have been amazing in this role. But hey, no worries--it should be a grand film.

  • droop | May 16, 2013 7:18 AM

    puuhlease! you really dont think he knows what he's doing. im not a huge fan of witherspoon but i have complete faith in andersons casting abilities as all his movie are impeccably cast. i remember thinking the same thing when adams was cast in the master, she turned out to be stunning

  • d | May 15, 2013 9:49 PM

    What's so "uninspired" about this?

  • 0_0 | May 15, 2013 9:45 PMReply

    PTA made a masterpiece of a rom-com starring Adam Sandler. I'm not worried one bit.

  • d | May 15, 2013 9:40 PMReply

    I'm cool with this.

  • Eponymous | May 15, 2013 9:23 PMReply

    It's Kevin J. O'Connor. (Duh.)

  • Hipster | May 15, 2013 9:07 PMReply

    Who's peen did her husband suck to get her this role?

  • DG | May 15, 2013 9:06 PMReply

    Dang. I definitely would have preferred someone younger for Shasta (that's who she'll play for sure) but Reese CAN be really good if the material is there (I personally loved her in Election and Freeway). Whatever I'm sure PTA knows what he's doing. Now we just need to find out who's playing Bigfoot (please, please be Daniel Day Lewis).

  • Delia | May 16, 2013 9:00 AM

    Why younger? I don't recall there being a big deal about her age in the book. If anything, Shasta was on the main character's level. A femme fatale with history,

  • oogle monster | May 15, 2013 9:18 PM

    Why do you say for sure? B/c she's a big name?

  • oogle monster | May 15, 2013 9:05 PMReply

    Agreed with most of the comments below- this is bad news. Theron >>>>> Witherspoon... Also, let's hope that Witherspoon is not set to play Shasta and will take on a smaller role? All I know is, Witherspoon wouldn't have given half the performance Adams had in The Master.

  • kris | May 15, 2013 8:50 PMReply

    worst news ever

  • mop | May 15, 2013 8:48 PMReply

    Fuck. I was happier with the idea of Theron + Phoenix + PT Anderson.

  • lea | May 16, 2013 9:08 AM

    Me too.

  • Amy | May 15, 2013 8:36 PMReply

    She's much older than I pictured Shasta but I guess since they aged up Doc, they had to age up everyone.

    She could be Sloane Wolfmann but that's a pretty small part.

  • ash | May 15, 2013 8:33 PMReply

    walk the line reunion

  • lea | May 16, 2013 9:09 AM

    "How do you know" reunion

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