The One Licorice Pizza Actor Who Left Alana Haim Starstruck

These days, writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson has such a solid track record of quality films that he can cast just about whoever he wants, and the studios seem to give him an incredible amount of leeway. Case in point, his new film Licorice Pizza features huge names like Bradley Cooper, Sean Penn, and Maya Rudolph, all in supporting roles. Well, there was one actor in particular that newcomer Alana Haim was completely starstruck over, and it makes sense given their connection in the industry. 

Although she’s a Grammy-nominated musician, Alana Haim has never starred in a feature film. One can imagine that being around so much A-list Hollywood talent would be intimidating, but the encounter that was truly “jaw-dropping” for her was working with fellow musician-turned-actor, Tom Waits. She told us this:

The most starstruck for me, it was Tom Waits. I mean, also having another musician on set and seeing how - he's the most incredible actor I've ever seen in my whole life. There were scenes that we shot together that didn't make it in the movie but were jaw-dropping, like I was so in awe. And I think the only thing I could muster up when we were cutting was just, ‘I’m a huge, huge fan,’ and I don't think he understands how much of a huge fan, I really played it down. I was like, I'm not going to be the creepy person… I grew up watching everyone that was in this movie, so it was insane.

So it’s not too surprising that it was a fellow musician who caught her attention, as he is also a very gifted actor in his own right. The “I Hope I Don’t Fall In Love With You” singer, with his trademark gravelly voice, has worked with such iconic filmmakers as the Coen brothers, Jim Jarmusch, Terry Gilliam, Martin McDonagh, and now, Paul Thomas Anderson. When speaking of his career trajectory and transition to acting, Alana Haim added, “that’s the dream.”

The fact that Alana Haim is leading a Paul Thomas Anderson film her first time out the gate is rather impressive. Her band Haim, which is made up of her and sisters Danielle and Esme Haim, has collaborated with him many times before. He’s directed a handful of their videos and even shot some of their album art. Check out one of their collaborations here:

Speaking of the Haim family, they’re all in the film. Not just the aforementioned sisters/bandmates, but also their parents Moti and Donna. They play Alana’s immediate family, likely some version of themselves, so it must not have been too terribly hard to fall into such a dynamic.

Licorice Pizza stars Haim alongside fellow newcomer Cooper Hoffman, son of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman and Paul Thomas Anderson collaborated numerous times over the years, so watching Cooper uphold that legacy really is something special. The film is in select theaters now and releases worldwide on December 25. If you need some recommendations in the meantime, you can check them out here, and since we’re nearing the end of 2021, you may as well get a head start on next year.

Jeff McCobb
Senior Video Producer

Jeff is a film buff who is ridden with gratitude that he gets to spout opinions about them for a living. He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he spends his time complaining about Los Angeles.