'Inherent Vice' may be an absurd comedy with a rather complicated premise, but it could prove to have one of Owen Wilson's more serious roles, as he takes on a Coy Harlingen; a government informer with some big trust issues.

Owen Wilson at New York premiere of 'Inherent Vice'
Owen Wilson plays Coy Harlingen in 'Inherent Vice'

Joaquin Phoenix is Doc Sportello in the Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel; a private investigator forced to get involved in a case he'd rather walk away from when his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend and his wife and her lover get embroiled in a kidnapping scheme. Sound complicated? That's why he needs Coy. 'I'm the guy who's helping Doc to understand what's going on', Wilson explains. 'Except I'm not able to ever really shed too much light on it so all our scenes have this mysterious quality to it, fringed with paranoia'.

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As it turns out, paranoia brought on by scheming lovers and illegal scams are the main themes of the flick, which Wilson thinks suits his character particularly well. 'I get the feeling that Coy sort of likes that feeling of paranoia', he confesses.

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Another character who finds his relationship with Doc a little on the mistrustful side is Martin Short's junkie character Dr. Rudy Blatnoyd. 'I loved his scenes', says Wilson. 'This stoner paranoia that runs through the movie I think harkens back to 'Cheech & Chong'. It is funny.'

Wilson has a few more comedies on the way - Peter Bogdanovich's 'She's Funny That Way', 'Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb' plus rumours of the newly announced 'Zoolander 2' - but he will break away from his typecast wacky roles in the coming months as he teams with Lake Bell and Pierce Brosnan for the grisly thriller 'The Coup'. If Coy Harlingen was veering on the side of nearly serious, we've seen nothing yet.

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'Inherent Vice' will reach US movie theaters on January 9th 2015.