Alana Haim makes stunning film debut opposite Cooper Hoffman in 'Licorice Pizza'

Friday, January 7, 2022
Alana Haim makes stunning film debut in 'Licorice Pizza'
Sandy Kenyon has more on Alana Haim and the acclaim for her first film role in "Licorice Pizza," one of 2021's best films.

If Alana Haim's name sounds familiar, that's because she came to fame alongside her sisters in the singing group that bears the family name: Haim.

She has received broad recognition and much acclaim for her first film role, in "Licorice Pizza," which came about after the director the group's videos decided to write a script for a feature film with her in mind.

This, despite the fact she'd never acted before.

"Oh my goodness, it's overwhelming," she said.

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Alana Haim has received broad recognition and much acclaim for her first film role in "Licorice Pizza," one of 2021's best films.

Still, her performance is garnering positive responses, with some calling it the most exciting film debut in recent memory.

"Licorice Pizza" takes it name from a defunct chain of record stores in Southern California, and the film is set in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles in the 1970s, where we find a teen actor hanging out with a young woman in her mid 20s.

The 15-year-old is played by Cooper Hoffman, son of the late actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Like Haim, he'd never acted in a movie before.

"It was the kind of thing if you thought about it too much, it'd probably stifle the process," Haim said.

Adding to the degree of difficulty was the fact their first scenes came opposite Bradley Cooper, playing a real guy named Jon Peters -- a hair stylist turned movie producer who at the time was the boyfriend of Barbra Streisand.

Haim said she banded together with her young co-star and followed the lead of the star.

"We were like, 'He's the real actor, just look at him,'" Haim said. "'Whatever he does, like try to mimic him.'"

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Cooper soon departed, leaving the two young stars alone with director Paul Thomas Anderson.

"I'm not going to say I was the most confident person on the panel, because I was not," Haim said. "But that was the first time where I think we banded together and it really felt like, OK, we're a team. We've got this."

I felt that shared sense of purpose and placed "Licorice Pizza" on my list of the Top 10 Best Movies of 2021.

As a final question for Alana, I asked her if touring the world with "Haim" had prepared her in any way for this new experience. She said that performing music taught her to tune out distractions, and that proved very helpful on a busy movie set.


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