Licorice Pizza (2021): Cast and What To Expect.

“I’m not going to forget you, just like you’re not going to forget me.” – Gary Valentine, Licorice Pizza

Licorice Pizza: Gary Valentine and Alana Kane
Licorice Pizza: Gary Valentine and Alana Kane

Finally, the trailer is out for what appears to be one of the most original films of 2021. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza trailer premiered at the Quentin Tarrantino-owned New Beverly in Los Angles. It is a follow-up to Paul’s six-time Oscar nominee Phantom Thread. It is based in the year 1970 against the backdrop of San Fernando Valley in California. His early works Boogie Nights (1997) and Magnolia (1997) were based in a similar setting. And people are excited to return to Paul’s foreground. United Artists and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures(MGM) have signed on as the producers and the distributors of the movie.

What is Licorice Pizza?

Licorice Pizza the Original Logo
Licorice Pizza: The Original Logo

Before getting to know about the movie, one may wonder: what is even the meaning of ‘Licorice Pizza’? What is its historical or pop-cultural context?

The title is actually a comedic reference made by Abbott and Costello in their routine: “Well, we could sprinkle cornstarch on the bottom and sell them as licorice pizzas.” It was also a popular pizza chain in Southern California from 1969-1986.

What to Expect And The Star Cast.

Bradley Cooper with Cooper Hoffman and Alana Kane
Bradley Cooper with Cooper Hoffman and Alana Kane

Paul Anderson is known for creating an aesthetic atmosphere on the background of palpitating soundtracks. One can expect something similar from this movie. It’s his ninth movie and his first attempt at a teenage love story.

Licorice Pizza was earlier given the working title “Soggy Bottom.”

It brings a certain good vibe and a sense of nostalgia. Set in San Fernando Valley, it is a story about a 15-year-old actor, Gary Valentine. Cooper Hoffman, son of late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, plays the role of Gary. Gary is trying to find a balance between his final years in high school and his budding acting career. Alana Kane, played by Alana Haim (the youngest among the HAIM sisters), is to make her acting debut in the film.

It was only logical to bring her in as Paul has shot various musicals for the band HAIM in the past. She is the main love interest in the movie. The star attraction for the movie is of course Bradley Cooper, the man who brought us the revamped A Star Is Born. He plays Jon Peters who is a real-life movie producer. But it is young Hoffman who is in focus for much of the trailer. And while the trailer shows a not-so-subtle affinity with Boogie Nights, it also shows a Wes Anderson-esque vibe which is relatively new territory for the cerebral Anderson. David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” in the background of the trailer is part of a typical Anderson soundtrack. Johnny Greenwood, Radiohead will lend their music to the movie.

Other members in the cast are Maya Rudolph, Ben Stiller, John C. Reilly, Sean Penn, Christopher Walken, Skyler Gisondo, Benny Safdie, Tom Waits, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Destry Allyn Spielberg, Joseph Cross, and Nate Mann. With such a large and stellar ensemble, another typical Anderson feature, by the way, one can expect no less in terms of delivery either.

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