“Inherent Vice,” writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s darkly comic 2009 crime novel, has been selected as the centerpiece gala at the 52nd annual New York Film Festival, Variety has learned.
The Oct. 4 bow will mark the world premiere of Anderson’s highly anticipated seventh feature, a 1970s Southern California-set detective yarn starring Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson and Benicio Del Toro. Warner Bros. has slated the film for a Dec. 12 theatrical release.
Following the announcement that David Fincher’s “Gone Girl” would make its world premiere as the fest’s opening-night entry (first reported by Variety on July 16), the selection of “Inherent Vice” bolsters NYFF’s rep as a key launchpad for high-profile fall titles, in addition to its long-standing position as an elite international-cinema showcase. For the past two years, the festival has reserved its gala slots for world premieres of such pics as “Life of Pi” and “Captain Phillips” (opening night); “Not Fade Away” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (centerpiece); and “Flight” and “Her” (closing night).
While “Inherent Vice” is set to make its official world premiere at NYFF, it’s worth noting that Anderson’s films have a history of turning up in unexpected places. “The Master” had a number of unannounced showings Stateside before its unveiling in competition at Venice in 2012, while “There Will Be Blood” secretly world-premiered at Fantastic Fest in 2007.
Like Fincher, whose “The Social Network” opened NYFF in 2010, Anderson is no stranger to the festival. “Punch-Drunk Love” was the centerpiece gala in 2002, and “Boogie Nights” bowed there in 1997.
Presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center under director of programming Kent Jones, the New York Film Festival will announce the rest of its main slate in the coming weeks. The event runs Sept. 26-Oct. 12.
(Ramin Setoodeh and Scott Foundas in New York contributed to this report.)