Alana Haim is having her moment in the sun. The youngest member of sister rock act Haim, Alana Haim also makes her big screen debut in Paul Thomas Anderson’s new movie Licorice Pizza. It’s a big swing from stage to screen, but Haim’s Licorice character really isn’t all that different from Haim herself.
We talked to Haim about her foray into the movies, what it was like to have the whole Haim fam on set, and why there’s so, so much running in the movie.
The A.V. Club: This movie is a big undertaking for you. This is your first starring role, and you’re on a massive poster on top of the movie theater here in L.A.. Was there ever a point at which you were like, “Can I do this?” Was there ever a hint of doubt in your mind?
Alana Haim: 100 percent. I think it would be crazy if I didn’t have doubts that I could do this.
I mean, Paul [Thomas Anderson] is such an incredible director and has made such incredible movies and carrying on his legacy as one of the leads in his movies, I mean, every day I would ask him, “Are you sure? Are you sure?”.
The thing that was great about Paul is that he honestly, from the jump, never had any doubts about me. I had a million doubts and he had zero. He really knew I could do it. Having his support was everything to me and it made me feel like I could do it.
AVC: Your parents and your sisters are in the movie. Did it help or hurt to have them on set?
AH: It helped. It was so fun having my parents there, and I think that my parents are the funniest people on this planet. There’s just never been a camera on them to film how hilarious they are. So now that everyone can see how funny my dad is, it’s the biggest gift for me because I have been my dad’s biggest fan and he’s been making me laugh since birth. So I loved having them with me.
As far as my sisters, I’m with them all the time. It was weird not having them with me.
AVC: Has your dad gone full Hollywood now?
AH: He’s definitely not full Hollywood. He just doesn’t... “I think we’re all kind of feeling the same way. We’re all feeling like what is going on?” This is so crazy and we’ve never done anything like this before. So we’re all kind of having our minds blown.
AVC: You grew up in the valley. What were some of your favorite haunts in your youth?
AH: I worked at Crossroads Trading Company on Ventura Boulevard. That was my first job. It’s not there anymore, unfortunately, but I would always go to Pagliaci’s on Ventura. Art’s Deli, classic, of course. There’s Casa Vega.
I mean, Beaman Park, Castle Park, those were all the places that I would go to growing up.
AVC: There is so, so, so much running in this movie. How was your endurance?
AH: I was just so excited to be there, but I will say I’m not a runner. In the script, I think there might have been two mentions of running. There was not as much running as I thought it was going to happen, but I was so fit. I was very fit and then I immediately just went back to having no endurance right after this.
AVC: Running in those white sandals couldn’t be easy.
AH: Yeah, they’re not heels really but they’re little platform shoes.
Honestly, running was such an important theme in the making this movie. Also when you run so much, it really does get you out of your head and it actually does help with acting.
I mean, I needed all the help I could get. I’ve never acted before. So having a tool like, “Okay, before you start, you run,” you get out of your head, you’re way more comfortable, and you can zone out and do what you need to do.
Paul knew that, which was something that I had never even thought of before. But, of course, Paul’s a genius, and he knows all.