Interview: Inherent Vice actress Delaina Mitchell



Inherent Vice is hitting theaters nationwide on January 9th. I got a chance to speak to Delaina Mitchell, who plays the wife of Josh Brolin in the film. I spoke to Delaina about Inherent Vice, and Vanilla Sky among other things.



JIM: What’s it like to be part of a film like Inherent Vice?


DELAINA: I’m incredibly fortunate, obviously working with Paul Thomas Anderson. It was one of my career goals. Every month for like three years I wrote him a postcard, I don’t think he received any of them (laughs). There are like three directors on my bucket list to work with, and he was number one. This is one of those movies where there is a ton of great cameos. Glad one of those was me.



JIM: You look at the Imdb list for this movie and it’s packed with names. It leads me to ask you, what was it like working with all those big names, and people I’m sure you have admired?



DELAINA: It was epic. All of my work was with Josh Brolin and Joaquin. Josh is super outgoing, very warm, very laid-back. They both are phenomenal actors that work with a lot of improvisation. There was this spirt, where everyone was just like lets jump in the deep end. It was very daring.


JIM: Was it Paul’s idea to do this improvisation?



DELAINA: Totally! As I said he’s my number one director. There is no way I would ever alter a word of his without him encouraging me to do so.



JIM: How did you get involved with the film. Was it something you auditioned for and how you approach the audition process?


DELAINA: Jim, it was a total miracle. I had a lot of auditions for his casting director Cassandra Kulukundis on and off since 2003. I auditioned for her for Shattered Glass, and that role went to Melanie Lynsky. I auditioned for her again for the film Her, I didn’t get the part but she kept my tape. She showed my tape from her to Paul Thomas Anderson for the role of Miss Bjornsen. So I had a baby in 2013, and two weeks after I had the baby. I got a call saying hey I know you aren’t working, but it’s an audition for a Paul Thomas Anderson movie. I was like I don’t care what the part is, I’m going in. They wouldn’t give me any sides, no script, completely blind. As far as I knew I was going in to play furniture. I got there, they gave me the script and had me prepare in the waiting room. As a new mom I was totally sleep deprived and weary eyed. I said to my husband, I don’t know what happened if it was terrible or brilliant I’m just happy I got to read for this. A couple weeks later I found out that I got the job. I was ecstatic.



JIM: What would you want people seeing this film to take away from it.


DELAINA: I would tell everyone to be ready for a wild ride. To be prepared to be floored again by Joaquin Phoenix. He’s just a knockout. He’s just a spectacular actor. I just re-watched The Master a couple nights ago, and comparing that performance with Inherent Vice I just get chills thinking about how good that man is. Just be prepared for a fun and wild ride. There is this beautiful scene in the movie, I don’t even know if I’m supposed to say this or not, there is a shot in the movie where it’s supposed to seem like the last supper. I was like holly fill in the blank, Paul Anderson is a mad genius. Some people are saying it has the makings of a cult film. Paul Thomas Anderson once said that he was inspired by Cheech and Chong movies, and I could see that inspiration in the film, but go to the movie sober and enjoy all the details.



JIM: Is there anything you picked up watching Joaquin on set, and applied it to your own work?


DELAINA: He’s definitely not a guy that has the quote on quote bag of tricks. You don’t watch his work and think you will steal something. What I will take from his work and hope to embody is his incredible presence. He’s incredibly present, vulnerable, and incredibly raw.



JIM: As an actor I’m sure that helps working off someone who gives you so much.



DELAINA: Yes, he’s a 150% in it.



JIM: You can see it in most of his roles how deeply he immerses himself in them. He’s one of the treasures we have in film, and Josh is just as good. You know I totally remember you from Vanilla Sky. Going back to it, people still talk about this film, what was that experience like?



DELAINA: Jim, that was another dream come true. I never had a fancy agent, I just somehow got the audition for that movie. They brought me back for it a couple times, then I got a call out of the blue from my agent saying you have an audition at Cameron Crowe’s office. I went to audition with Cameron, it was a time when Almost Famous was out when he was auditioning for Vanilla Sky. Almost Famous was one of my top 10 films. Then I got another call from my agent saying, hey you are going to audition with Tom Cruise today.



JIM: No pressure at all.


DELAINA: I was so nervous at the time, I didn’t know what to do so I took a nap. I went to Cameron’s office and waited for a while, then I was brought to the room with Tom Cruise and Cameron Crowe. We ran the scene several times. As I was walking out the door, my heart was pounding and I was thinking that I can’t believe I just acted with Tom Cruise. Tom and Cameron were chatting upstairs, and one of them, can’t remember which one of them shouted down the stairs, hey Delaina you got the job, I almost lost it. As I was walking out the door I realized I left my purse in Cameron’s office (laughs). I go back inside, back up stairs to his office for my purse. It was a great experience. Shooting with Tom Cruise, he’s a terrific actor. We were shooting in New York City and people go crazy when they see him, it’s like The Beatles. I don’t know how he functions with all that attention on him.



JIM: You guys shot at Times Square. Remember hearing they shut down Times Square for the shoot.


DELAINA: I think it was the first time it ever happened, they shut down Times Square, for the scene that he is running down the street. We shot all the David Ames’ office and the street scenes in New York. All his birthday party stuff and his apartment scenes were shot out in LA.



JIM: You have had such great opportunities to be part of such big movies like Vanilla Sky and Inherent Vice.


DELAINA: It was working with people that I really respect. People say so many negative things about people in the film business, but when you are working with people on that level, a writer, a creative person, artists are often really good people. It takes a tremendous amount of intelligence and sensitivity to do the things that we do well. To work with people at the highest level, and look most of my career hasn’t been working with people at that level, it’s a positive, creative, and rich experience.



JIM: You had mentioned having a few years off having a baby. Anything you wanna mention that you have in the works, after Inherent Vice?


DELAINA: Nothing that I want to mention, I’m literally as of three weeks ago trying to make a statement that I’m getting back to work. Getting my team back together, reaching out for opportunities. I shot the movie since I had the baby, and since them I’ve just been home, and this evolutionary, biology whatever the first 16 months I had no interest in work. As soon as she could start asking for food, and be a little more independent, my reptilian brain turned-off and I realized I was ready to get back to work.



JIM: Is it difficult to take that hiatus and just back into it?


DELAINA: The thing I have been doing, my husband is a writer so I have been staying creative reading scripts all the time. The hardest part is that people forget so quickly. They forget you. It’s just getting back out there and reminding people who I am and what unique qualities I bring to the party, and just that I’m here, that takes a little while.



JIM: That’s a very valid point, it’s such a fluid business and things move so quickly. There is always a need for fresh faces. It reminds me of a classic example of Michael Keaton, who was huge as Beetlejuice and Batman and then disappeared for a decade and now is back.


DELAINA: He’s a huge movie star. It is going to take a little bit of work to remind people who I am (laughs).



JIM: I’m excited about the movie and your performance.


DELAINA: Awesome, thank you.



JIM: Thanks for your time.


DELAINA: Thank you, it was a real pleasure talking to you Jim.

Check out the trailer for Inherent Vice Below:

[springboard type=”video” id=”1030899″ player=”tmbg001″ width=”599″ height=”336″ ]

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