Inherent Vice, the new film from wunderkind Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights) has divided audiences with its convoluted plot, but everyone agrees it adds another feather to star Joaquin Phoenix’s impressive acting cap. But as he told GQ, Phoenix reveals he has no idea what it’s about, either.
GQ: How much did you have to understand who everyone was and what was going on?
I still don’t understand any of it. Actors do this thing where we define a precise way the character is and that doesn’t seem true to me. I don’t know that I ever do figure [a character] out, but I like to experience the character as we shoot. I try not to come up with too many ideas about who they are because I think that shows.
GQ: So how does a character reveal himself to you?
I don’t know that it’s ever that way. It’s a movie so you cherry pick. You’re shooting multiple scenes and probably 90 per cent of what I do is garbage and doesn’t make sense. And [Paul Thomas Anderson] picks the best parts and starts adding them together. I don’t really know how it works.
He really encourages you to make mistakes and slowly figure something out, and now I’m so spoilt because I think it’s the only way it should be done. Usually you sit alone in your room and read the script and want to start having ideas. But you’re in a vacuum, it doesn’t make any sense because you’re yet to experience the set and the environment and the other actors and what they’re going to do.
Click here to read the rest of this story.