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Reese Witherspoon, Jena Malone, and Martin Short Nab ‘Inherent Vice’ Spots

Written by on May 15, 2013 

With production only a couple of weeks from liftoff, Paul Thomas Anderson has been filling out the cast of Inherent Vice at a surprising, impressive rate, in the process collecting a team unlike any to have graced his six previous features. Filing in, now, are Reese Witherspoon, Jena Malone, and, you are not reading this incorrectly, Martin Short — those latter two announcements stemming from TheWrap — the lot of whom vary from point to point in the extent of respective roles.

Witherspoon, who happened to be Anderson‘s first pick for Peggy Dodd in The Master — i.e., back in 2010, when Jeremy Renner was to play Freddie Quell, he at that time referred to with the surname of Sutton — is not given a specific part in Deadline’s story, though a number of signs (including those from Cigarettes & Red Vines) point toward the character of Shasta Fay Hepworth. While it’s a name with zero genuine significance if you’ve never read the Thomas Pynchon novel upon which Inherent Vice is based, the character is a classic noir staple: the old flame emerging from the shadows, telling of a problem that gets the private dick into heaps of trouble. Since Joaquin Phoenix fills out the lead as Larry “Doc” Sportello, we even have a Walk the Line reunion in store.

In other realms, Malone is to be seen as “a former drug addict who asks Sportello for help”; Short has a minor part that goes unlisted, in large likelihood because it happens to, obviously, be of small note. Nevertheless, it’s good news: Malone‘s a wonderful actress who, for whatever reason, doesn’t get many big parts — save for this fall’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire — and Short, if not an outstanding thespian, is funny. For what the director has compared to Cheech & Chong, his mannerisms ought to find their place.

Warner Bros. are backing Inherent Vice, which Anderson will begin shooting within a month’s time, also having Benicio Del Toro, Owen Wilson, and Kevin J. O’Connor in supporting slots.

Is this a set of actors to increase confidence in Anderson’s next picture?

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