Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, who was also the co-cinematographer, Licorice Pizza is about a teenage actor and a young woman who fall in love in the 1970s in LA’s San Fernando Valley. It stars Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Bradley Cooper, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, and Benny Safdie.
It presents a teen’s view of the same era whose seedier side Anderson had explored in Boogie Nights. The trailer looks absolutely stunning, playful, and even funny. It is sure to be a nostalgic coming-of-age story.
Although plot details are almost non-existent, it can be understood that it is going to be a slice-of-life love story about awkward teens, Alana Kane (played by Alana Haim) and Gary Valentine (played by Brandley Cooper).
We see them go through adolescence, and there is also a lot of teenage numbskullery in the trailer, putting Anderson’s taste for outcast humor on full display. Also, if you are wondering what the context of the title is, Licorice Pizza is not a weird food combination but a very informal way (sort of a slang) of saying vinyl records.
Licorice Pizza: filming location
Director Paul Thomas Anderson turned back the clock to the 1970s for location filming out on the city streets of San Fernando. The name Licorice Pizza comes from the long chain of LA record shops founded in Long Beach by James Greenwoodin 1969. Their logo wj=hich features a depression-era cook proud of her freshly baked record album was plastered all over the streets of LA.
In fact, it is now the most sold T-shirt in the Relics Valley Museum. Goes without saying that the townsfolk were extremely surprised to see pinball arcades and giant billboards for defunct rock station KMET appearing in San Fernando Valley last fall.
The film, as evident from the trailer, leans into the LA suburb life, capturing the minute details of growing up there, against the backdrop of Hollywood. It should not come as a surprise when you know that Anderson grew up in the Valley himself.
San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, California, USA
Principal photography began in Encino, California in August 2020, after it got delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic from the spring of the same year. Sean Penn was spotted on the sets, leading to speculations that he might be a part of Anderson’s new production.
At that point, the film was under the working title of “Soggy Bottom”. It was reported in November, 2020 that the principal photography had been wrapped up and post-production work had started.
El Portal Theater is a historic landmark in the San Fernando Valley. It was built in 1926 as a vaudeville house. It had to be rebuilt 1994’s earthquake. It was opened in 2000 by the Actors Alley Acting company in partnership with the building owners Bernard and Judy Kaufman and Gary and Shary Goodgame. The once 1400 set movie place how has 3 theaters. This is where Alana and Gary go for a movie in the film.
As mentioned above billboards for the radio station KMET-FM, which went off-air in 1987 was part of the makeover of the city. The Encino Union Gas Station served as the perfect backdrop for the billboard and the setting for the movie.
Another shooting spot in The Valley was the Reseda High School. It was the first complete high school to be built in the Valley after the Second World War. The school dates back to 1955 when it was first opened. In 2018, it was made into a charter and is thus now Reseda Charter High School.