Over the course of the past quarter-century, Paul Thomas Anderson has transformed himself from an up-and-coming director with a lot of potential to one of the most respected filmmakers in today’s Hollywood. Through PTA’s various movies like Boogie Nights, There Will Blood, and Magnolia, the Golden Globe-winning director has introduced audiences to characters that range from beautiful and pure, to detestable and fundamentally flawed, and stories that become immediately relatable.
Now it looks like that tradition will continue at least one more time with the release of Licorice Pizza, the long-awaited coming-of-age drama about young love and the pitfalls of fame, set in the seedy underbelly of 1970s Los Angeles. Below is everything there is to know about the acclaimed director’s first movie in nearly a half-decade, and based on what we’re about to break down, the wait is going to be more than worth it.
Licorice Pizza Is Set To Be Released Theatrically On November 26, 2021
Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza has been one of the most anticipated upcoming releases ever since the movie was first announced several years ago (even before it got his current and presumably final title), but we don’t have to wait all that much longer. When the Licorice Pizza trailer dropped in late September 2021, it was given a release date of November 26, 2021 (the day after Thanksgiving in case you were wondering), though its rollout will be limited and will only be showing in select theaters, per Deadline. According to Variety, the movie is slated to be released nationwide on December 25, 2021, making for an extremely busy Christmas Day at cinemas around the country.
The Star-Studded Licorice Pizza Cast Includes Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Bradley Cooper And More
The list of actors who have appeared in Paul Thomas Anderson movies throughout the filmmaker’s career is one of the most impressive you can find, and the same can be said about the Licorice Pizza cast, which is bursting at the seams with talent. Anderson’s latest movie is led by Alana Haim, one of three members of the all-sister rock and roll outfit Haim, who will be taking on the role of Alana Kane, a young woman living in the San Fernando Valley at the center of the moving story. Playing opposite Haim is Cooper Hoffman, the son of PTA’s longtime collaborator, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays a young actor named Gary Valentine.
The Licorice Pizza supporting cast, which is impressive even for Paul Thomas Anderson’s standards, includes Bradley Cooper as famed movie producer (and Barbra Streisand’s ex-husband) Jon Peters, Benny Safdie as politician Joel Wachs, as well as Sean Penn, Maya Rudolph, Tom Waits, and Ben Stiller.
Licorice Pizza Is A Coming-Of-Age Story About Two Teenagers Falling In And Out Of Love In The San Fernando Valley In 1973
Paul Thomas Anderson will return to his storytelling playground of the San Fernando Valley with Licorice Pizza, this time in 1973, when he tells the story of Gary Valentine and Alana Haim, two teenagers falling in and out of love as their career aspirations begin to take off and introduce them to characters of various moral standings in the entertainment industry. This coming-of-age story will mark the fourth time the writer/director has used the valley to tell an emotionally-charged story. His previous San Fernando-centric dramas include Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and Punch Drunk Love.
Alana Haim, Making Her Acting Debut, Previously Worked With Paul Thomas Anderson For Multiple Music Videos
Alana Haim will make her acting debut when she takes on the role of Alana Kane in Licorice Pizza, but the musician has worked with Paul Thomas Anderson multiple times in the past on various music videos, per Rolling Stone. Dating back to the live video recording of Haim’s “Right Now” music video in 2017, Anderson (who, like numerous other successful filmmakers got his start directing music videos) has directed a total of nine Haim music videos, with the most recent being “Man From the Magazine” in 2020.
Originally Titled Soggy Bottom, Licorice Pizza Wrapped Production In November 2020
For the longest time, Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming movie was one of the biggest mysteries in Hollywood, so much so that the studio releasing it, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, didn’t really know anything about it during a CinemaCon presentation in August 2021. Even though most of the movie’s details were kept under wraps until September 2021, various outlets were following its production throughout the latter half of 2020, with the Film Stage reporting that production on the film (which was called Soggy Bottom at the time) had wrapped that November following a three-month shoot in and around the San Fernando Valley.
The Movie’s Title Comes From The Iconic Los Angeles Licorice Pizza Chain Of Record Stores
Just as Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was a love letter to 1960s-era Hollywood, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza will pay homage to the culture and lifestyle of the San Fernando Valley in the early 1970s. This can be seen in the setting and fashion shown off in the movie’s first trailer (more on that next), music choices, and even the film’s title itself, which comes from the beloved and influential chain of record stores that were all the rage in Los Angeles during the time in which the movie is set.
According to Los Angeles Magazine, Licorice Pizza (the music store, not the movie) was founded by James Greenwood in 1969 and grew to 34 locations in the Los Angeles area when it ceased operations. In March 1985, the chain was sold to Record Bar which itself was purchased one year later by Musicland, the chain of 400 stores that were then converted to Sam Goody record stores.
The Licorice Pizza Trailer Is Full Of Nostalgic Greatness And Performances Set To David Bowie’s ‘Life On Mars’
In late September 2021, MGM Studios surprised everyone with the debut of the first official Licorice Pizza trailer that finally showed off what Paul Thomas Anderson has been working on all this time. Set to David Bowie’s 1971 classic track, “Life On Mars,” the trailer gives you brief glimpses into the movie’s core characters, their motivations, and the painful life lessons they will learn on their respective journeys in personal and professional matters.
Playing on childhood nostalgia, young love, and making that transition from adolescence to adulthood (or at least teenagers’ perception of growing up), this beautiful and transfixing trailer will surely only make moviegoers even more excited to rush to their local theater this holiday season.
Expect to hear more about Licorice Pizza as we get closer to its November 26 release date. In the meantime, check out the schedule of 2021 new movie releases for all the latest on everything coming to theaters and streaming services in the final months of the year.
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Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.