Acclaimed writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson returns to the San Fernando Valley in his latest flick, the intriguingly titled Licorice Pizza.


Like Anderson's previous work – which includes Boogie Nights, Magnolia, The Master, Inherent Vice and many more – the drama features an ensemble cast, bold visuals and a brilliant soundtrack already hinted at in the recently released trailer.

Starring Cooper Hoffman, son of frequent Anderson collaborator Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Haim guitarist and singer Alana Haim, and Bradley Cooper, the coming of age tale set in '70s Los Angeles is likely to be a strong contender this Oscars season.

But what is it about? And why is it called Licorice Pizza? Read on for everything you need to know about Anderson's latest project.

Licorice Pizza release date

Licorice Pizza will have a limited release in select US theatres on 26th November 2021. It will then have a wider release on 25th December 2021, but it's unclear if that also includes the UK at this stage. We'll update this page as soon as a UK release date is confirmed.

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Licorice Pizza trailer

A trailer teasing the '70s romp was released in September 2021, giving us a first-look at Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman as lovebirds Alana and Gary to the tune of David Bowie's Life On Mars?.

It also features a glimpse at Bradley Cooper as real-life producer Jon Peters, who was in a relationship with Barbra Streisand from 1973 to 1982.

Licorice Pizza cast

Anderson frequently collaborates with the same actors, and the Licorice Pizza cast certainly reflects this.

The coming of age tale stars Alana Haim as Alana Klein and Cooper Hoffman as child star Gary Valentine, a pair of high schoolers "growing up, running around and falling in love in the San Fernando Valley", the official synopsis teases.

Anderson and Haim have worked together before, with Anderson directing many of pop band Haim's music videos.

Hoffman, who is also set to appear in Guillermo del Toro's Nightmare Alley, is the son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. The latter appeared in five of Anderson's films; Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love and The Master.

A Star Is Born's Bradley Cooper appears to be playing infamous producer Jon Peters, who was married to Barbra Streisand and whose producing credits include the 1976 version of A Star Is Born and Superman Returns.

Director Benny Safdie will be playing a politician, with Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Ben Stiller and Maya Rudolph (who is married to Anderson) rounding out the cast.

Why is it called Licorice Pizza?

The film, which was previously titled Soggy Bottom, might make fans wonder at its rather confusing title. Luckily, we've got answers, and they've got little to do with either licorice (the US spelling of liquorice) or pizza.

Per Los Angeles Magazine, the title "comes from a long-gone chain of LA record shops founded in Long Beach by James Greenwood in 1969".

The chain was sold in 1985, but not before it had opened 34 stores across Southern California, and its logo – a depression-era cook displaying freshly baked record album – became famous.

The chain itself got its name from a comedy sketch in a Bud & Travis album. According to Los Angeles Magazine, the duo are "on a self-deprecating roll about how unsuccessful their record was, remarking that it had 'sesame seeds on the other side' and could be played on a Waring blender. Just before going into their version of La Bamba, they mention that the platter was being sold at feed stores as a 'licorice pizza'."

Pretty niche, if you didn't live in Los Angeles in the '70s and/or enjoy '60s folk, like Anderson. Speaking of his time growing up in the Valley, Anderson told The Times: “Listen, I’m aware of its shortcomings. I know it’s not the prettiest place to live in Los Angeles. But it’s home!

“And that just becomes the thing you love. I could spend my whole life here — I’m in the middle of spending my whole life here."


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