Press conference: Alana Haim on “Licorice Pizza”
Writer Fabian Garcia of the Guardian’s Arts and Entertainment section attends a college press conference for Paul Thomas Anderson’s ninth film, ‘Licorice Pizza’.
The UCSD Guardian recently had the opportunity to sit down with HAIM’s Alana Haim on Zoom to discuss her acting debut in Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, “Licorice Pizza.” Although only appearing through a screen, Haim still radiated a natural and graceful presence, as if we were in the room with her.
“I’m so happy to be here,” Haim said.
“Licorice Pizza” follows the lives of 25-year-old Alana Kane and 15-year-old Gary Valentine as they explore the San Fernando Valley and find personal growth and passion in their efforts to achieve something greater. bigger than themselves. Haim cites her personal experience growing up in the area as the reason she fell so easily into her character, Alana Kane. However, that’s not to say going from the concert stage to the big screen wasn’t a “crazy transition” for the born musician.
“When you play in front of a crowd, everything is like, really big, you have to make your moves really big…” Haim said. “For a camera…it was more, you know, subtle movements and really getting into my body.”
One glaring detail about “Licorice Pizza” is the odd way it seems to mirror real life. Set in the 1970s, real people and events from that time have serious effects on the characters and plot. Haim is no exception and shares an almost identical name with his character, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the two are one.
“I’m not as crazy as Alana Kane,” Haim said. “But she rides for, you know, her friends and her family and she’s very protective of the people she loves and I can definitely see myself in that.”
The music plays a very important role in the film, and Haim’s background as a musician only made this element more enjoyable.
“It’s no secret that Anderson has impeccable musical taste,” Haim said, recalling when classic ’70s tunes were played on set or when she first heard ” Life on Mars” by David Bowie in the trailer for the film. “One of my favorite parts of shooting the movie was when we got to the pinball palace, between takes or if we were reloading the movie, Paul was playing music, so it kind of felt like we were all at one party,” Haim said. .
This story and many more let viewers know just how entertaining filming “Licorice Pizza” was.
“For a very long time it kinda looked like that weird family vacation movie that we all did, but I never really thought anyone was going to see it,” Haim said, interestingly but still very telling of how those who worked on the movie see the edit.
The movie was truly a family affair for Haim as his real-life sisters and parents appear in “Licorice Pizza” to play their movie counterparts.
“I don’t know how to work with anyone else,” Haim said. She would later, ironically, receive a call from her father during the conference, pushing this point even further. Despite this, her family was only able to be on set for a limited time due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“I was alone for the first time in my life,” Haim said.
Without her family, Haim turned to Anderson for help and he certainly delivered. His past work with Anderson on music videos was his “cheat sheet” for moving into acting, Haim said.
“We had a great working relationship before,” Haim said. Her patience and encouragement are ultimately what made the filming experience better for her as a new actress.
The shoot itself remained in its natural and relaxed atmosphere. Haim recalled that she had the most fun driving a U-haul back with Hoffman and Bradley Cooper, as well as spending time in Anderson’s redesigned version of the iconic LA restaurant Tail o’ the Cock.
“It was as fun as it sounds,” Haim said.
The ’70s period was also maintained during filming, as phones were not kept on set.
“It felt like we were living in that time.”
Talking about the many themes present in the film, Haim concluded with her thoughts on what “Licorice Pizza” means to her.
“Really, these two people meet and don’t know it yet, but their lives are changed forever and they embark on these crazy adventures.” Haim thinks the film parallels his personal relationship with Paul and Cooper Hoffman, and how meeting them forever changed his life.
“They make my life so rich and happy and that’s definitely how I feel about Gary and Alana.”
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
With : Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bradley Cooper, Benny Safdie
Release date: November 26, 2021
Image courtesy of MTV.