Alana Haim was in London preventing jetlag when the script for Licorice Pizza landed unexpectedly in her in-box. It was late July 2019, and the Los Angeles-based musician was there together with her sisters Este and Danielle — additionally her bandmates in Grammy-nominated pop-rock outfit Haim — to advertise their newest single ‘Summer season Woman’.
The e-mail was from the script’s creator, multiple-Oscar-nominated author/director Paul Thomas Anderson, which was not in itself odd — a fellow San Fernando Valley child, Anderson had befriended the band a couple of years earlier (their mom Donna had taught him artwork in elementary faculty), and directed a number of of their movies, together with this newest launch.
However what stunned the sleep-disadvantaged pop star was the unheralded inclusion of a whole movie script: a loose-limbed, roman-a-clef-ish, Nineteen Seventies Valley-set story concerning the fractious relationship between a precocious 15-year-old show-kid named Gary and a 25-year-old girl named… Alana.
“I cherished the script. It was so humorous. It was a page-turner,” she tells Display Worldwide with apparently undimmable cheeriness. “Nevertheless it was so unbelievable to even suppose, ‘Oh, this character’s title is Alana, Paul should be serious about me for the position.’ That’s simply so not my vibe. I can’t even fathom one thing like that.”
So she known as Anderson, though it was nonetheless 5am, to examine. He had written the half together with her in thoughts, he confirmed, and requested if she would take it. “Oh my god, sure, of course,” she cried. After hanging up, she climbed again into mattress, as she wanted to be up in only a few hours. “Clearly I couldn’t sleep. I assumed, ‘I simply stated sure to being in a significant film. What did I simply get myself into? Oh God. Can I do this?’”
Within the deep finish
Because it turned out, not solely may Haim (Alana, not the band) do it, she may do it so properly that she obtained nearly common approval for her efficiency, plus a Bafta nomination for finest actress. Even so, her self-doubt is comprehensible. Apart from music movies, her appearing expertise didn’t lengthen past enjoying the Depraved Witch of the West in a faculty play. She didn’t even take any appearing classes between that decision and the shoot, which started in August the next yr. Anderson was adamant that she shouldn’t. “He stated, ‘I do know what you are able to do. You gotta belief me.’”
Haim believes it was observing her at stay reveals that satisfied Anderson she may do it. “Me and Este have a contest of who could make the group snicker the toughest,” she says. “I suppose Paul noticed I might be in entrance of a really giant group of individuals and really feel assured and make them snicker, and likewise be centered sufficient to play the quantity of devices that I do on stage.”
It can also hardly have damage that the character of Alana Kane bears numerous similarities to her real-life counterpart. “She’s such an unbelievable laborious employee, which I very a lot recognise in myself,” says Haim. “When she’s thrown into these loopy eventualities, she thrives. And she or he fights for the individuals she loves, and I recognise that in myself as properly.”
The Alana character additionally lives in the identical space of Los Angeles (the shoot and story have been situated proper on Haim’s Valley doorstep) and has sisters named Este and Danielle, performed by Este and Danielle Haim, whereas their mother and father have been performed by the siblings’ personal mother and father, Moti and Donna. “To have my entire household be with me on this journey was such a present,” says Haim.
It was whereas taking pictures together with her household that the largest distinction between actor and character turned obvious, when one scene required Alana to yell at her father after a disastrous ‘meet the boyfriend’ dinner.
“My dad had zero script. Paul would say, ‘Right here’s the state of affairs. React to no matter Alana does.’ So once I got here in and screamed at my dad, he was absolutely shocked. Like, none of his daughters had ever screamed at him.”
Actually? “Oh my god, I used to be essentially the most obedient youngster of all time,” Haim laughs. “Alana Kane’s a bit of bit extra unhinged than I’m.”
The hardest facet of enjoying Kane, Haim says, was having to be taught to drive a truck for the tense sequence the place she and Gary (Cooper Hoffman, son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, additionally making his film debut in Licorice Pizza) ship a waterbed to mercurial Hollywood producer Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper).
“I’m a horrible driver and I needed to discover ways to drive stick fairly rapidly,” she explains, “then instantly graduate to a ’70s transferring van that was ginormous. That was laborious, and essentially the most terrifying factor. To have my finest pal Cooper within the automotive, after which Bradley Cooper — like, one of many greatest film stars on the earth — and so they’re trusting me with their lives… I imply, it was a lot.”
Happily, having Hoffman by her aspect for many of the shoot was a useful boon. The 2 had been launched by Anderson throughout post-manufacturing for his final movie Phantom Thread in 2017 (when Cooper was 14) and hit it off straight away. “I used to be so fortunate that he additionally had by no means executed this earlier than,” says Haim. “If I had labored with any person who had executed 1,000,000 motion pictures, we might have simply been on two totally different islands. I might have been so intimidated. However each day, it was me and Cooper in opposition to the world.”
Again to the band
Anybody eager to see what new cinematic worlds Haim may conquer should be affected person, it appears. “I’ve to return to my band,” she insists. “I love touring the world with my sisters. It’ll all the time be my old flame. I imply, this was only a tremendous crazy-fun detour for a summer season when no touring was occurring.”
Nonetheless, having found this new expertise, she want to act once more. “It’s one thing I really fell in love with, and it was a lot enjoyable engaged on one thing new. However I really feel it must be the best factor, the best time, and one thing I’m keen about.”
If that ‘proper factor’ by no means comes alongside, Haim may hardly have a greater sole appearing credit score on her resumé — or a supply of fonder recollections. “Alana Kane was such a giant a part of my life,” she beams. “Like, now we have this snapshot in time, and we’ll be capable of watch it for the remainder of our lives. After I’m older I can present the film to my youngsters and say, ‘I did this in the summertime of 2020, the craziest summer season of all time. That’s what I used to be doing. That’s me.’ I imply, it’s only a stunning factor.”