One of the most fiercely original filmmakers of our time, Paul Thomas Anderson has finally returned to the director’s chair with another feature called Licorice Pizza. After making Phantom Thread, Anderson had been directing music videos and other intermediate projects but he is back again with an exciting new opus that is already generating a buzz.
In an interview, Anderson explained that this new coming-of-age film about growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s was inspired by one particular encounter. “A very long time ago I was walking around my neighbourhood, and I passed Portola Middle School,” Anderson recalled. “It was picture day, and I saw this very energetic teenager flirting with the girl who was taking pictures.”
The director experienced a spark in his brain which made him want to build on that image. “It was an instantly good premise,” Anderson claimed. “What happens if you have a kid invite an older woman to dinner, and what if that girl against her better judgment says yes? That seemed ripe for humour… This story just emerged. I love the way it unfolds.”
While Leonardo DiCaprio is gearing up for the release of his latest Netflix film Don’t Look Up, his dad landed a cameo in Licorice Pizza where he plays a man who “owned a wig shop that sold water beds”. DiCaprio responded to the reports by claiming: “I haven’t seen it yet but my dad George DiCaprio has a cameo in a Paul Thomas Anderson movie! Today was a good day”.
Anderson revealed that DiCaprio’s father was just what he had in mind for the role: “I created a picture of a guy who owned a wig shop that sold these water beds, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I kept saying, ‘Who do I know that looks like this?’ And like a bolt of lightning, I remember, like, ‘Leo’s dad looks exactly like this.'”
The director discovered that DiCaprio’s father was a perfect fit: “So I tracked him down, asked him if he’d ever be interested in being in a film. He said, ‘Sure.’ I explained the scenario to him. He said, ‘Sounds great. Did Leo tell you that I owned a water bed company?’ It was called Foggy Bottom… It was one of those things. I said: ‘Well, you’re the right man for the job.'”
Take a look at the brand new trailer for Licorice Pizza below.