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Author Thomas Pynchon—whose book Inherent Vice is being adapted for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson—will make an incredibly rare cameo appearance in the movie, which stars Benicio Del Toro, Joaquin Phoenix, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, and Josh Brolin.
Very few photographs exist of the 77-year-old, National Book Award-winning novelist, and his reclusive nature has sparked rumors ranging from him being the Unabomber to a Waco Branch Davidian sympathizer. He has lent his voice to a couple recent episodes of The Simpsons, but other than that it’s virtually impossible to find any trace of Pynchon outside of his books.
How Anderson secured a cameo from the author is unclear, but given the fact that what he looks like now is basically a mystery, Pynchon may come and go onscreen without anybody even noticing. That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t do a frame-by-frame analysis of the movie and try to figure out which one is him.