• Golden Globe Awards

Nominee Profile 2022: Alana Haim, “Licorice Pizza”

Paul Thomas Anderson, Alana Haim, and her sisters Este and Danielle have one very important thing in common: the San Fernando Valley. Or, as locals would say, ‘the Valley.’ The Valley – a vast flatland between the Santa Monica and Santa Susana mountains – is an important element in Anderson’s filmography, from Boogie Nights and Magnolia to this year’s Licorice Pizza. And it was this element that brought together Anderson and first-time actress Alana Haim, one of three sisters known as the band Haim.
The story, Haim says, started with a friend (from the Valley) who overheard Anderson at a party (in the Valley) saying how much ‘he loved those three sisters from the Valley.’ He got their email, and the rest is history: a series of music videos were shot when the band had ‘no time and no money.’
“Me and Paul have known each other for a very long time,” Haim said at the premiere of Licorice Pizza. “He’s worked on a lot of our music videos with my band, Haim. Thank you. And we were very lucky enough to have him help because we played in this festival called Coachella. And after Coachella, he turned to me and said, ‘I want to put you in a movie,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, not going to happen, but thank you.’”
The youngest daughter (born December 15, 1991, in Los Angeles) of two musicians – her father Mordechai, a drummer, and her mother Donna, a singer (and a winning contestant on the 1970s The Gong Show) – Alana and her sisters grew up as a family band, officially, since 2007. From music to film was not something she had in mind. “I would just hear these stories that [Anderson] would tell me from time to time,” Haim recalls. “And then one day I was in London, and I was very jet-lagged, and I got an email from Paul Thomas Anderson, and it was a Word document and I opened it and it was a script and I had never read a script before. I was like, ‘Oh my God, Paul. Thank you. I’ll read this. Please and thank you.’”
Haim was fascinated by the still-unnamed script and moved by one element. “I opened said Word document, and it was an untitled script. And the first name on the first page was a character named Alana, and I was just flattered that Paul was going to use my name. I was like, ‘Oh, Paul, that’s so nice!’”
Working with another first-timer, Cooper Hoffman was ‘the easiest.’ “[What] I love the most about Paul is that he really did let me and Cooper run free,” she says. “He really did let me run free and improv a lot. And a lot of the things that I improvised are in the movie, which is insane to me.”
Playing Alana Kane was a truly hands-on experience – on her second day on set, Haim had to drive a truck down a steep hillside (in Tarzana, to be precise), all the time in character. “That was really me driving,” she recalls. “There was a camera and one of the biggest movie stars in the world [Bradley Cooper] and my best friend [Cooper Hoffman] and lights. And it was crazy. I mean, there’s no other adjective to say. It was crazy, but it was so fun.”