Monday, December 6, 2010

Cast the Book: Inherent Vice.

Read the Book:
Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon

Boogie Nights director Paul Thomas Anderson has recently expressed in interest in adapting the Thomas Pynchon stoner noir novel Inherent Vice, which follows drug-addled P.I. Larry "Doc" Sportello who is trying to track down his ex-girlfriend's missing mobster beau.  The novel is set in 1969 and set in the mythical L.A. neighborhood of Gordita Beach.  It's an enjoyable read that could easily pass as an account of Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski's early years (though less funny than the Coen Brother's film).  P.T. Anderson has an excellent track record; most of his films range from good (Hard Eight) to mind-bogglingly awesome (There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights ).  So I, for one, couldn't be more excited to see his take on the book.  

Robert Downey Jr. is rumored to be cast as Doc.  I think RDJ is an excellent actor and really shines in comedies, but I don’t quite see him for this part.  First off, RDJ is quite a bit older than Doc, who is 29 in the book.  Also, I think RDJ is a bit too smart and charming to really be a convincing Doc, though he did a nice job playing a paranoid drug addict in A Scanner Darkly .   However, if P.T. Anderson is interested in a middle-aged Doc; I think RDJ's blue collar counterpart, Sam Rockwell, would be a great choice.  He’s made a career out of playing desperate and pathetic characters (think: Snow Angels , Confessions of a Dangerous Mind , and Safe Men ).  Also,  NOTE TO CASTING DIRECTORS, he has real life experience as a private investigator.  Then all the movie would need is one good dance sequence! 

Below are my casting choices for the major characters in Inherent Vice:  

Larry “Doc” Sportello: A short, 29-year-old pothead P.I.
First Choice: Joaquin Phoenix.   

Other Ideas: Jason Schwartzman (who plays a similar character on Bored to Death), Sam Rockwell, or Michael Raymond-James (Terriers, True Blood).  

Lieutenant “Bigfoot” Bjornson.  L.A.P.D. officer Bjornson is Doc’s sometime nemesis, sometime co-conspirator.  He’s a giant Swede, who love’s chocolate covered bananas.  He’s also the most intellectual character in the book.
First Choice: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Other Ideas: Richard Jenkins.

Shasta Fay Hepworth:  Doc’s ex-girl.  A free-spirited blonde hippie chick who turns straight for real estate mogul Mickey Wolfmann.  
First Choice:  Drew Barrymore.  

Other Ideas:  Heather Graham, Kate Hudson, or Kirsten Dunst.

Denis:  Cheech to Doc’s Chong.
First Choice: Danny McBride.  

Other Ideas:  Really any of the Apatow crew could do this, but I’ll go with Jason Segel, because he’s the funniest playing dim-witted.  

Mickey Wolfmann: Shasta’s married beau; a Jewish real estate mogul with connections to Skinhead thugs.  This is a small part, but central to the plot.
First Choice: David Morse.  

Other Ideas:  William H. Macy, Michael Chiklis.  

Sloane Wofmann:  Mickey’s pretty, young wife who is cheating on him.
First Choice:  Minka Kelly.

Other Ideas:  Scar Jo, human mannequin Megan Fox, any other of Esquire’s Sexiest Women Alive. 

Coy Harlingen:  A former surf musician and junkie who faked his death and works an informant. 
First Choice: Paul Schneider.

Other Ideas: John C. Reilly (since this is a P.T. Anderson movie), Vincent Gallo.

Puck Beaverton:  Wolfmann’s former body guard who betrayed him.  Puck isn’t very smart and is a thug, so basically this part only requires a pretty face and a buff build.  
First Choice: The pectoral muscles that are known as Kellan Lutz.

Other Ideas:  Any of the guys from 90210 or Chace Crawford of Gossip Girl.  

Trillium Fortnight:  Puck’s girlfriend and Doc’s dream girl.  Trillium is considerably smarter than her boyfriend as she teaches music theory at UCLA, but she remains smitten with beefcake criminal Puck nonetheless.
First Choice:  Olivia Thirlby.
Other Ideas:  Mila Kunis or Debra Ann Woll. 

Adrian Prussia:  Notorious loan shark and hit man.  There’s not a lot of information to go on here and it’s a relatively small part.  
First Choice:  I think Tom Waits should be somewhere in this picture, and why not as a seedy loan shark?