Licorice Pizza: who are the two revelations of the charming film by Paul Thomas Anderson? -…

Thanks to “Licorice Pizza” and Paul Thomas Anderson, the year 2022 is starting very strongly in French theaters. Because the director offers us two beautiful revelations. Discover Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman.

Like Phantom Thread and much of Paul Thomas Anderson’s filmography, Licorice Pizza takes place in the past. With his ninth production, the filmmaker plunges us this time around in 1973 with a story at the crossroads of romantic comedy and the coming-of-age story, influenced by American Graffiti and It Heat Up at Ridgemont High School.

Released this Wednesday, January 5 in our theaters, the feature film indeed follows Alana Kane and Gary Valentine, two teenagers who grow up, get lost and fall in love in the San Fernando Valley. And offers us two sacred revelations, in a cast where we also meet Sean Penn, Bradley Cooper and Benny Safdie.


Universal Pictures International France

You may have known her as a singer, pianist and guitarist. Discover the actress. Since 2007, Alana Haim is indeed a member of the rock group Haim, which really took off in 2012, with her sisters Este and Danielle. Who play the members of his family in Licorice Pizza, alongside their real father Moti, who would have improvised all his lines according to Paul Thomas Anderson.

This undoubtedly explains the naturalness which she shows on the screen for her very first role in the cinema, after appearances in the fake documentary series Documentary Now! and his participation in The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience of Lonely Island, available on Netflix.

Hailing from San Fernando, California, like her character in the film, Alana Haim was no total stranger when Paul Thomas Anderson chose to call on her. Having also grown up in the same area, the director had for primary plastic arts teacher a certain… Donna Haim. The mother of the one who would later become one of his actresses.

We can even speak of a muse. Because before Licorice Pizza, Paul Thomas Anderson became one of the regular directors of Haim’s music videos. Familiar with the exercise, having worked with Fiona Apple and Radiohead, the filmmaker has put in images no less than eight of their songs, between 2017 and 2020. Their latest collaboration to date, “Man From the Magazine”, has even been compared to Magnolia by the site The Forty Five, for its intimate atmosphere.

Seeing Alana evolve in front of her camera, in one of her feature films, is therefore part of a continuity, even if one would have expected Danielle to be in the foreground. As in the clips of the group of which she is the lead singer. But no : “When I thought about this story I had [en tête depuis une vingtaine d’années, ndlr], she corresponded to Alana “, explains the director to New York Times.

After promising her that he would make her shoot in one of his films a few years ago, Paul Thomas Anderson is walking the talk. And even speaks of the obvious. “This story was specific to the San Fernando Valley. And it was important in terms of the cast.”, he tells Variety. “If you want to tell a story in New York, you hire Marisa Tomei. Alana looks like a valley girl. She speaks like a valley girl. Because she is a valley girl.”

“She has this ferocity. She’s very impatient and learns quickly. I don’t see how you can tick more boxes. In the film, she comes across as the most stable first. [des deux personnages principaux], the one who is a little older and more experienced, but we slowly discover that she is unstable, impulsive, angry, stuck and incredibly immature. “

A role full of nuances that Alana Haim embodies brilliantly, facing a beginner linked, too, to the life of Paul Thomas Anderson.


Universal Pictures International France

As his name might suggest, Cooper Hoffman is none other than the son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Thomas Anderson’s favorite actor who had starred in almost all of his feature films (only There Will Be Blood has escaped him), before his death in 2014.

Like Alana Haim, this is her first film role. Unlike her, the caster was not obvious to the director, who admits to having thought of him in the middle of the writing process and tried to get this idea out of his head. “I have not written [le film] for him”, he tells Variety. “I wrote it for a 15-16 year old boy. I never imagined, while writing it, that he would be played by Cooper. [qui a fêté ses 18 ans en 2021, ndlr]. “

“I thought I would go down a more traditional path and go find a young actor. A few of those I met were talented, but some of them seemed over-trained for their young age, too mannered and ambitious, which did not interest me. “ And thus benefited Cooper Hoffman, whom Paul Thomas Anderson had, in reality, already directed.

“He had years and years of experience making home movies with my family and I. These were usually action movies where he played the bad guy and got beaten up by my son, who heroically threw him away. off a cliff or shoot him in the head. But he had never been a professional actor. “

Cooper Hoffman had years and years of experience making home movies with me and my family. Usually action movies where he played the bad guy and got beaten up by my son.

It is now done with this opus which is reminiscent of Boogie Nights, in which we found Philipe Seymour Hoffman, because of the 70s and the fluid staging. Except that Licorice Pizza is lighter and more tender, and it plays the family card at all levels. Because Cooper’s mother, Mimi O’Donnell, appears in the film, as does the director’s companion, Maya Rudolph.

Or the daughter of Steven Spielberg, Sasha, and George DiCaprio, father of Leonardo, who almost played the role of Jon Peters finally held by Bradley Cooper. In addition to the fact that he played in It heat at the high school Ridgemont, source of inspiration claimed by the director, the appearance of Sean Penn also goes in this direction. Because Paul Thomas Anderson had previously worked with his brother Michael, composer on Hard Eight and Boogie Nights, then directed his mother Eileen Ryan in Magnolia.

Despite the wait that surrounds the feature film, because of the status of its director, Licorice Pizza is therefore presented as a more family and intimate opus for this reason. And because it puts in the foreground two beginner actors (but already solid) whose novice side fits perfectly with the hesitation they show in the face of their feelings. It was a more than successful bet.

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