This award season, critics are all asking the identical query: Is there something Alana Haim can’t do? Because the youngest member of the pop-rock trio Haim, the 30-year-old guitarist, pianist, and vocalist has been a multi-hyphenate expertise for over a decade. Nevertheless, her most up-to-date step into the highlight has formally catapulted the Los Angeles native into triple-threat territory. She’s successful viewers hearts and trade reward (together with a Critics Selection Award nomination) for her star flip in Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie Licorice Pizza. The offbeat coming-of-age story facilities on Alana Kane, a succesful however rudderless 20-something girl, and the evolution of her friendship with Gary Valentine (performed by Cooper Hoffman), a highschool scholar and overly assured serial entrepreneur rising up in 1970s Los Angeles.
To say that this challenge was Alana’s first time in entrance of the digital camera could be a misnomer. In truth, she and her sisters labored with Anderson, a longtime household buddy, on a number of music movies for Haim, together with 2019’s “Summer Girl,” which was a whole DIY challenge. “Paul was in a wheelbarrow, and he had a movie digital camera in his lap to do the monitoring [shots],” she recollects once we spoke earlier this month over Zoom. “We had no finances. We really had zero finances. We didn’t inform anybody we have been doing it. We didn’t inform our label. We didn’t inform our administration. We didn’t inform anybody.” Alana and her sisters have come a good distance since then (they have been nominated for 2 Grammys in 2020), but their enthusiasm for improvising stays a core element of their craft.
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Followers of Haim lucky sufficient to have seen the group carry out reside within the pre-pandemic period know that Alana and her oldest sister, Este, are, properly, hams. In between songs, the 2 compete to see who could make the viewers giggle essentially the most. “It’s actually simply me and Este’s comedy hour,” she divulges, noting that this was essentially the most “appearing” expertise she had previous to Licorice Pizza. “Paul actually knew that, below strain, I may attempt to make folks giggle, and I feel that’s what actually got here all the way down to me having the ability to know easy methods to play this half. He let me run free.” It was this mutual stage of belief that gave Alana the arrogance to not solely discover a brand new medium however to additionally take dangers, together with a number of memorable traces that have been completely improvised. “I had so many concepts. A number of them made it into the film, which is stunning. I imply, ‘What does your penis seem like?’ was an improv,” she shares. One other memorable line, “You’re speaking about pinball machines, and I’m a politician,” can also be an Alana Haim authentic.
Alana’s on-screen presence is so comfy that many viewers can be shocked to be taught that she did little or no to organize for this main position. Nevertheless, that’s not a sign of her innate work ethic. “I've been practising my guitar since I used to be 9,” she explains. “I put in my 10,000 hours working, taking part in guitar, and likewise taking part in exhibits. So I really feel very comfy in that sense.” However when it got here to appearing, one thing completely new, Alana was really discouraged by Anderson from taking skilled classes. “Paul actually simply guided me by way of this factor. Each day, I’d be like, ‘You understand, I’ve by no means accomplished this earlier than,’ and he’d be like, ‘I do know.’ After which we'd proceed filming, however I used to be always asking if I used to be going to get fired,” she says.
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In actuality, Alana had accomplished this earlier than. Or not less than, many scenes will need to have felt acquainted. Not solely is her character in Licorice Pizza named Alana, however her total household additionally seems at varied factors all through the movie. A scene that many will discover memorable was impressed by a real-life vacation meal at residence. “My center sister had introduced a boyfriend to Passover years in the past (they’re not collectively anymore), which grew to become sort of like a story. Each time we’re making enjoyable of Danielle, we’ll be like, ‘Keep in mind that time you introduced an atheist to Passover dinner?’ In order that state of affairs was true—there wasn’t that a lot appearing since we had a number of expertise with the household vibe,” explains Alana. Notably, her father, Moti, additionally slings a couple of completely timed zingers. “We couldn't cease laughing as a result of he had no script. He didn’t have any set traces and was simply so humorous with out making an attempt,” she says. “Seeing the film with a crowd of individuals and watching how a lot pleasure my dad is bringing the viewers simply warms my coronary heart. It’s given him a lot confidence and likewise simply made me giggle so arduous, so it was nice. It was beautiful.”
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Along with honing her improvisational appearing fashion, Alana discovered easy methods to drive a classic U-Haul truck, arrange a waterbed, and was chargeable for doing her personal hair and make-up whereas on set. Yep, she does her personal stunts! Provided that Licorice Pizza takes place within the San Fernando Valley in 1973 (and, in contrast to the video for “Summer time Lady,” had a sizeable finances), this was an enormous shock and absolute delight. Whereas studying to drive an enormous truck required not less than a couple of hours of follow, Alana’s expertise rising up within the valley was all she wanted to domesticate her character’s look. “Regardless if it’s within the ’70s or in trendy occasions, the valley warmth has by no means modified,” explains Alana. “Anytime I needed to impress a dude, I might put make-up on, however it will actually work towards me as a result of it will simply soften off.” So whereas the “much less is extra” method may be unforgiving on-screen, it was each a sensible selection and a mirrored image of ’70s-era magnificence norms in Southern California. “In case you google ‘youngsters within the ’70s’ and ‘the valley,’ you’ll see that nobody is sporting make-up. Everyone seems to be embracing naked pores and skin as a result of there really wasn’t that a lot you possibly can do, once more, due to the warmth,” she shares.
Each Anderson and Alana agreed that DIY make-up and hair would assist to attain the precise aesthetic for the period. “The entire philosophy behind the hair and make-up of the film was that you simply gotta be truthful to the time and be truthful to the valley. For my vainness, after all, I needed to look cute,” she says. “However typically, I look insane as a result of once you put make-up on within the valley and it sweats off, that’s what it appears like, so I used to be being very truthful to the valley.” Once more, Alana is nothing if not real. “I don’t have excellent pores and skin. I've a full-blown Zoom magnificence filter on my face proper now,” she confesses along with her signature smirk. “It was so humorous. After one of many screenings, somebody got here as much as me and requested, ‘So did they put zits in your face, or was that simply your pores and skin?’ And I used to be like, ‘Oh no, form sir. That's simply my face.’ And that’s okay!”
So what’s up subsequent for the musician, actor, make-up artist, and truck driver? Celebrating, for starters. The singer and her sisters cheekily introduced that Haim could be going again on tour in 2022 in an Instagram video that included a present-day verse of Adam Sandler’s “Hanukkah Tune” (see: Omicronukkah), which Sandler himself praised. Final week, she attended a birthday celebration with shut buddy and fellow Sagittarius Taylor Swift. And eventually, she’ll be ending the yr on a excessive observe with the broad launch of Licorice Pizza, in theaters in every single place on December 25.
After ringing within the New Yr, Alana and her co-stars are headed again into the press gauntlet for award season. And if her Licorice Pizza premiere look (a stunning Loewe costume styled by Rebecca Grice with super-shiny hair by Mara Roszak) is any indication, Alana Haim is prepared for her close-up—no filter wanted.