It was a bitter shame when word came down that Paul Thomas Anderson was putting his film The Master on hiatus, but according to Vulture, PTA has now turned his focus on a private eye novel by Thomas Pynchon to replace the project.

Inherent Vice is the book, and it’s that newest novel from 73-year-old Thomas Pynchon, a noted recluse famous for his award winning book Gravity’s Rainbow. The MacArthur Fellow has rarely been photographed or interviewed, though he’s been writing literature for something like 50 years, and many of his book (including Vice) deal with drugs and 60s culture. Inherent Vice in particular tells the story of a private eye investigating a kidnapping plot aimed a real estate mogul. The story is back-dropped by the famous “Summer of love,” the arrest of the Manson family, and the private eye’s own copious pot-smoking.

Word is that Robert Downey Jr. is their top choice for the part, but as whoever sees him next on a red-carpet and asks about it will find out, I doubt this has progressed far enough for the actor to have even been approached, much less started figuring it out when he could possibly film it. RDJ is a wonderfully obvious choice for a part like this (one only has to see the brilliant Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang to know that), but we’re probably a long way off from casting, considering Vulture’s “heard [Anderson’s] writing a treatment and may have already started on a script.” Way too early in the process yet.

Vulture was kind enough to point out this informative Wiki page for those not familiar with Pynchon’s work, and there’s even a link to download the first chapter of the novel in question.

I hated to see The Master shelved, though if it was more about the creative roadblocks than the money perhaps it was for the better. I am glad to see PTA moving in a new direction relatively quickly though- I need to see whatever he does next. There’s no reason five years has to pass between the guy’s films.