As the credits will show, the main inspiration behind There Will Be Blood was (at least the beginning of) Upton Sinclair‘s novel Oil!, which from Paul Thomas Anderson expanded upon its themes and crafted his own characters of Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday. However, that was far from the only influence the director had. To get a better visual sense of the time period and line of work — a crucial aspect of the film, and particularly the first act — Anderson did extensive research.
“You get giddy looking at all those amazing photos, getting a real sense of how people lived their lives,” Anderson says in the press notes when it comes to looking at vintage images from California’s oil museums. “There’s so much history in the oil areas around Bakersfield – they’re filled with the grandsons of oil workers and lots of folklore. So we did an incredible amount of research and I got to be a student again and that was a thrill.”
We now have a look at that precise research thanks to a supplement on the Blu-ray, which is now available online. In the 15-minute video, we see a wealth of photos that Anderson mined from, juxtaposed with footage from the actual film. It’s quite incredible to see the images (and some video) come directly to life, so as audiences await the release of Inherent Vice (see our review and more here), check out the video on Anderson’s inspirations below (via Refocused Media), along with a 30-minute video analysis of the film.
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