The first look at Paul Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza begins our introduction to the the story, set to the tune of David Bowie's 'Life on Mars.' We see a young man (Cooper Hoffman) pursuing a girl and his dream of making the leap from child star to adult actor. We also learn how to pronounce Barbra Streisand's name correctly from her very proud boyfriend, who should be Jon Peters (if we're staying true to history), the former hairdresser and film producer played by Bradley Cooper.
Licorice Pizza is "the story of Alana Kane and Gary Valentine growing up, running around and falling in love in the San Fernando Valley, 1973. Written and Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the film tracks the treacherous navigation of first love.' For teens living in Southern California in the 1970s, the film's title will deliver a nostalgic punch. Licorice Pizza was a cherished chain of record stores offering free licorice, a place to hang, and all the latest tunes."
The Paul Thomas Anderson love letter to the film industry of 1970s southern California stars Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman (son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman), Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bradley Cooper, Ben Stiller, John C. Reilly, Maya Rudolph and Benny Safdie. The all star cast appear to be telling the story of what's happening on the other side of the Hollywood Hills, leaving The Valley and Dirk Diggler for a dive into the 'legitimate' work of Hollywood and all of its players.
Speaking of his fascination with the 1970s, Paul Thomas Anderson explains, " I think what we get stuck on with the 70's movies - it was really the beginning of (when) the auteur came to America and the director really became the king. And that's a nice thought." He recently gave his list for his top favorite films, and you can connect the dots and see what's moved him and what he thinks makes a movie great. One film stood out, as Anderson's is known for his intricate story structure and delivery. David Mamet's 1987 drama House of Games compelled him to aspire to Mamet's writing style. "My mission then was to rip off David Mamet, because I foolishly believed Mamet's dialogue was how people really talked. It took me a while to realize that Mamet had developed a wonderfully stylized way of highlighting the way humans speak. People immediately think of dialogue when they hear Mamet's name, but I think the strength of his writing is his storytelling. House of Games, for instance, is one of the best scripts ever written, and it's the story structure that makes it so brilliant."
As for his take on the importance of the soundscape of his films? "It's so hard to do anything that doesn't owe some kind of debt to what Stanley Kubrick did with music in movies. Inevitably, you're going to end up doing something that he's probably already done before. It always seem like we're falling behind whatever he came up with. 'Singin' in the Rain' in A Clockwork Orange- that was the first time I became so aware of music in movies. So no matter how hard you try to do something new, you're always following behind."
Enjoy a familiar tale of teens finding new young love with the nostalgic backdrop of 1970s Hollywood this winter. Licorice Pizza will have a limited release on November 26 and expand nationwide on December 25.