AFI Fest: Paul Thomas Anderson, Joaquin Phoenix Bring 'Inherent Vice' to L.A.

Joaquin Phoenix AFI Fest 2014

"It's good to be home," said Anderson at the event at the Egyptian Theater

Paul Thomas Anderson took the stage in front of a packed audience at the Egyptian Theater Saturday night ahead of the screening of his latest film Inherent Vice.

"This is the first time we're showing it at home," he said. "It's good to be home."

"Home" is Los Angeles, the place where Anderson was born and raised, and the setting for his new film.

While the film had already screened in New York, the Los Angeles gala screening at AFI Fest of Inherent Vice, which Anderson adapted and directed based on Thomas Pynchon's book, was a perfect setting for the 1970-set, drug-addled comedy-drama, which roams the streets of Los Angeles, from Venice to Hollywood and downtown L.A.

The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as a private investigator/hippie who is tasked by his ex-girlfriend (Katherine Waterston) to help find her missing boyfriend, while at the same time dealing with a difficult detective (Josh Brolin). The film also stars Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon and Benicio del Toro.

Brolin told THR that he had first met Anderson when they were both part of the 2007-2008 awards season, Brolin with No Country for Old Men and Anderson with There Will Be Blood.

"I've always loved his movies and he's from Los Angeles, and I'm a staunch Californian, so I always wanted to work with him," said Brolin of his director.

Brolin says he read Pynchon's 2009 book while he was on vacation in Costa Rica, and had about a month to study the source material. "The book is amazing and colorful," he said.

Of working with Anderson, Brolin added: "It's all in familial terms, once you're in it, it's family. We're all in it together. You don't get that feeling very often."

Phoenix, who had worked with Anderson on his most recent movie The Master, said that Anderson asked him about working together again around the time The Master was hitting theaters.

"He really creates a sense of intimacy when you're working with him," said Phoenix. "Sometimes movie sets can feel so big when there are so many components at work to get this one scene, but somehow he creates this environment where it really feels like it's just you and the other actors."

Anderson skipped the carpet, but did give a short welcome speech to the audience inside the theater. But he seemed ready to let his work speak for itself when he ended his speech with "Oh f--- it, enjoy the movie."

Warner Bros. will release Inherent Vice on Dec. 12.