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Film

Alana Haim opens up about working with Tom Waits

Paul Thomas Anderson had been reflecting on the idea for Licorice Pizza for decades now, but he has finally finished his project which has turned out to be one of the crowning achievements of 2021. His choice of casting, which includes musician Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman (the son of Philip Seymour Hoffman) in their debuts, was questioned by many but their performances have been described as nothing short of revelations.

In fact, Anderson had penned the screenplay of Licorice Pizza with Alana Haim already on his mind after having directed several music videos for her band. Hoffman was added to the lineup at a later stage because he was deemed to be a complementary addition to the naturalistic style of acting that Haim brought to the table for the film.

Haim revealed that she just jumped into the project without any professional training – even though she had asked Anderson whether she should seek some experienced coaching before acting in such a huge project. According to the musician, Anderson immediately dismissed the idea and claimed that she already had what it takes.

One of the highlights of performing on Licorice Pizza for Alana Haim was the opportunity of working with two of her idols – Sean Penn and Tom Waits. She went on to describe Waits as a “God” and wanted to ask him a lot of questions but did not get the time. “He had the best vibe,” Haim said. “When he came to set it was hard because I’m a sandwich between Sean Penn and Tom Waits and it’s like: ‘Who do you focus on?!’ It was a crazy sandwich to be in.”

Even though Haim has already picked up nominations for prestigious accolades for her contributions to Licorice Pizza, she maintains that her primary passion is music. Haim said that she hopes this acting part won’t be her last venture in the world of cinema but for now, she is focused on music and is looking forward to the upcoming tours in 2022.

Watch the trailer for Licorice Pizza below.