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Paul Thomas Anderson talks about "liqueur pizza" and filmmaking

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"Licorice pizza" Paul Thomas Anderson's new film has finally hit online distribution platforms after its release. The New Yorker-based David Remnick recently interviewed the American filmmaker, who follows. It is about the strangeness of being young, the experience of becoming human and being formed. This is a discreetly informed and randy narrative, but it is also pure and captivating. In fact, he never left the streets. His first feature films, "Hard Eight" and "Boogie Nights," date back to when he was only twenty-one years old, and since then he has been an artist whose every new work he has created has been a coincidence. Is. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Daniel DeLouise, Tom Cruise, Melora Walters, Julianne Moore and Joaquin Phoenix are among the veteran actors in his best works, "Punch-Drunk Love" and "Magnolia," "There Will Be Blood", "The Master" and "Phantom Thread" were present.

Anderson rarely gives interviews. He did this conversation with the New Yorker via zoom from his home in San Fernando. And since he has made "Nights of Revelry", "Magnolia" and now "Liquor pizza" in this area, I started the conversation by asking why this place has such a strong presence in his works.

I love you. simply. It all starts here and ends here. I remember being a kid and thinking to myself that I would have to get out of here as a teenager. Just go, not here, not in the San Fernando Valley. Maybe Los Angeles. Maybe New York, maybe London, Shanghai, anywhere, just to get out of here. Home. I just want to go home. I am one of those housewives. I'm comfortable here. My family is here, they are my friends. Wherever I go, I come back here. Whatever ambition one may have that drives him to move, I always find myself coming back here. After London, when we were making "Field of Dreams", I wished I could work there, but when I got home I was very happy. San Fernando is neither the most beautiful nor the most cultured place in the world, I know that, but it's a house anyway. Are ridiculed. I did not understand why. What were they joking about? What is this San Fernando spiritually and from the point of view of your youth?

This San Fernando Valley is a flat place between the mountains of San Gabriel and Santa Monica. Once upon a time, he was a farmer. It is the suburbs. Full of happenings. I do not know why. When I was a teenager writing "Nights of Revelry" a terrible thing happened in our backyard. I did not have to go far. I did not need to make up my own story. I had to research to find out about people in the porn industry, but it was nothing new. I probably read somewhere at one point that "write what you know." This is a good start. That in itself is difficult. So why bother going to learn something that is beyond my comprehension or unfamiliar to me?

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William H. Macy and Brett Reynolds focus on two characters in a scene from" Revel Nights "

-" Liquor Pizza ". One is Gary Valentine, played by Cooper Hoffman, a young charismatic teenager. He is a petty actor. First he starts a blue mattress business and then a pinball hall. His bluntness, his apparent courage, is astonishing to a fifteen-year-old boy. He falls in love with a girl named Alana Kane, played by Alana Haim, who is in her twenties and twenties, with a neutral life but an innate intelligence that is also amazing. How much of this comes from your own experience? If you say something you know, how much of your pizza liqueur is derived from your own life?

I'm a child , My second child, so I have an older sister who has friends older than me. Two, three, four years older than me. And one of my friends had an older sister. So when we were fourteen or fifteen, we were among these girls, friends of our sisters who were eighteen or nineteen. And they had a car! So we were all trying to convince them to take us by car! And it was really an opportunity for us to socialize with them and get attention from them, not just The title of a little brother makes me nervous, something more.

I remember being friends with a few of these girls. Just a simple friendship, but wonderful. Great because it was just a simple friendship. Friendship with a girl older than you, who is not your sister, made me step into the world of adulthood or just feel great because of the car they had.

- Basically the biggest form of age and power difference In this film, it is not erotic but driving. There is a place in Alana's movie, not a car that drives a truck and suddenly starts to reverse at a high speed from a hill to the city center. [Gary is his terrified and excited traveler.] This is the ultimate drama. It's even better than Grace Kelly speeding up the mountain roads of southern France with Carrie Grant. . And this is especially true in Southern California because it is essentially a car-dependent community. We are slaves to our machines. I love them. Especially at that age, all your life is focused on getting access to a car somehow. And usually because of this tendency you put yourself in a lot of trouble; You look back at your life and say to yourself, I really can't believe I survived. So that sequence actually shows the same parts of life. Exactly the moments you think you enjoyed so much, but when you move away from it you see that it was really a life-and-death situation.

- I always thought it was enough to have a pen and paper to write. be. Of course, it's a lot harder than that, but you have the tools to do it. You have yourself. And writing only requires you, and of course genius or talent. You can't be Francis Assisi to make a film. You have to be a leader. And you started making films when you were very young. You were twenty-six years old when "Hard Win" came out, "revel nights" were twenty-seven years old. How could you do that?

My mom likes to say that I started directing not when I was twenty-six or seven, but when I was four or five. It tells a series of stories about how I put everyone together and performed.

I wanted to make a film very soon, as soon as possible. I was lucky when I wanted to make a film when filmmaking became easier with the advent of home-based cameras. Steven Spielberg was a star of the era, but he was working with Super Eight, which means you really cut the film and then glued it together. I had a home camera. It was big and cumbersome, but you could see the result right away. You could put something together in an instant. You could learn fast, make a disaster movie one day, get a little better the next, and then move on. You were constantly rehearsing.

I was so young that I made my first film, I was amazingly self-aware and motivated. I knew I was the youngest person on stage and I did not want to disappoint anyone. There was a world of people around me who had been doing this for ten, fifteen or even twenty years. I really did not want to be the one to take the rhythm out of work. Before that I was a production assistant in many projects, I knew what was good or bad behind the scenes. It always comes down to communication. I was the one who brought the coffee to the others and I knew no one knew what was going on. Everyone was fighting. This can really be the case behind the scenes of a movie. But there were also cases when I saw why everything was going smoothly; Good communication was formed there. You did not have to shout. Yes, you should be a dictator, but you can be a kind dictator. It does not have to be the classic form of shouting behind the speaker. It all comes down to organization and communication. You can have fun and be kind and do the card.

- We read about Hitchcock, who planned everything in advance, with a storyboard, and a plan in advance. very carefully. Well, this way the film is almost pre-edited. Then there's the one, like Jean-Luc Godard, who improvises, writes the script every day of filming in the morning, and everything goes almost randomly and irregularly. Your movies always have something to say. I'm always eager to see them quickly because I know I'm going to hear from you in the most personal way possible, whether you're making your film in London or in the San Fernando Valley, stories that are very different. How much of this comes from the text? Is text the most important element of the creative process for you?

This is the first and last text. This is an exaggeration, of course, but the point is that if the text is good, you are more likely to make a good film. Before you get into the situation you are about to enter, you know what you are going to do. And the reason for this is that when you write a scene that you do not understand, you usually spend a lot of time trying to get it right. You take the scene again, rewrite it, and try a thousand and one ways. And then you realize that it's not worth the film.

I love the writing process. for me It is the most important part. Because it's good and because it's going on, when you have a screenplay it 's easier to go on stage, it' s easier to wake up and say to yourself, 'Well, I'm going to take this scene today.

- And you before Do you know what you want to do on stage?

Most of the time. Sometimes you say to yourself, this is the best scene in this movie. And then he says something in your mind that no, you do not need this scene. That's the trick. And you may think to yourself that after all these years, all of them will die. But, for example, there was a series of scenes in the same "liqueur pizza" that I had written, and then I said to Alana and Cooper, "Let's not say the nonsense I wrote at all, just go in front of the camera and just look at each other in silence," and the result was great. It looks like a miracle is happening.

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Bradley Cooper and Cooper Hoffman in a scene from "liqueur pizza"

- Cooper Hoffman, son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Alana is my Alana and we know her from my group and her sisters before this movie. The selection of these two people for the main actors of an important film takes courage. We know Cooper Hoffman as the "son of someone" and Alana Haim as the musician. Why did you choose them?

Look, believe me, if you were me, the question would be, how could you not choose these? Well, I already knew these two. I was sure that Alana had both her talent and her skill because of her many years of experience. I knew Cooper had that spirit and the necessary sensitivity. I did not know if he could handle it or not. You know you can never tell if a person is in front of your eyes or when he is in front of the camera and he is saying dialogues to another, he has the talent that he should have or not. It may not be. But the more we worked on the script and sat down and got up, the more I realized it was possible. The choice was far simpler than it seemed. I was looking for two pure and non-artificial people who could not hide their feelings. And I saw that I found exactly these two people who want to learn and they want to work really hard and they do not want to disappoint me. They do not want to disappoint themselves. How could we miss such an opportunity? We knew it was going to be an amazing experience for all of us.

- So these two were supposed to play the lead roles from the beginning? There was no test?

Not for Alana. I had him in mind from the beginning

- you worked with him on a music video.

Yes, many, many times. I have been working with her and her sisters for several years. I contacted them because I liked their music and offered to work with them. And the result was a relationship beyond just making a music video. I love them as a family. Make their music. And that's why we're tied together.

In fact, the experience of making a music video made me want to know what kind of movie "liqueur pizza" was. We were constantly wandering the streets of San Fernando. We had no money. We did not have time. Usually we had ten, maybe five people on stage. And those were the happiest days of my career. And these sisters were really good colleagues. I used the same energy to write "Liquor Pizza." that's it. I thought maybe the kids were out and I could find him. Unfortunately, this process took a long time. And I suggested Cooper to my sisters, and they said it was a good idea. And so the process of testing Cooper began.

- Where did they know him? What did he add to the group?

They know him because I know him. I spend a lot of time together when I'm in Los Angeles and Cooper lives in New York. They were introduced to each other five or six years ago. Cooper had come to town and I had something to throw out of town, so I asked my sisters to take care of him and socialize with him. And they did, and like everyone else, they were fascinated by his uniquely lovable, charming, and empathetic character.

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Daniel DeLouise in a scene from" Fiction String "

- The previous four films with Daniel DeLouise and Joaquin Phoenix, both starring They are unparalleled experience, you have worked twice each. They knew what they were doing. In "Liquor pizza" you were on the side of good but inexperienced actors. How does this change the way you work with your actors?

Well, of course it's different. In the most ridiculous and rudimentary way possible. Someone who has been doing this for a long time knows how to adapt to a period of, say, sixty-one days, both physically and emotionally. But the novice actor is different. I could see how nervous and focused these kids were They put energy into work and it was natural for them to get tired easily.

I had to go step by step with them and give them time to get ready. I would say, "You have to finish the script, because there is no time to do it in the middle of filming. "It's like skiing on a mountain for a hundred miles an hour." Have you eaten breakfast? not tired? You should be just as interested in the novice actor.

- You also worked with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Cooper's father. I ask this question hesitantly because it may seem a bit out of the ordinary, but do the two have any similarities? As a human being, artist and actor.

Well, there are physical similarities. But the good thing about me is that Cooper is really himself. She has her mother's eyes and her father's laughter. And sometimes when he turns his head and looks at you, he becomes very much like his father. But working with an elephant was like working with Daniel or Joaquin. They have been doing this for years and know the world of acting and cinema.

- Cooper's character is an amazing lovable conspirator. And you had that character in your other films, these hard-working, morally complex characters like William H. Macy or Tom Cruise in "Magnolia," Daniel DeLouise in "Blood Rises," or "Fantasy." . What attracts you to such characters?

I do not think I know. I think I am naturally attracted to these characters because of their nature, which creates dramatic situations, and preferably good comedy. Gray has this ambition as a teenager, which is interesting, which is very, very long, but only lasts fifteen or twenty minutes. So, it paves the way for good dramatic and comedic situations.

- Alana Haim's acting is fantastic and this is her first experience. It is true that he is a musician and performs on stage. It has been on stage millions of times. But how did that happen?

I think the answer to that question is that he has talent. So is Daniel DeLouis. Joaquin Phoenix too. So was the elephant. Some people can utter a word on the screen in such a way that it seems as if they are saying it from their mind and heart at the moment. And you know they can do that just as they walk and talk. I'm attracted to people who can do it well, because it's like a magic trick.

And then you ask yourself, 'Is this really magic? Or the full-blown talent that some people have? I was always very worried because there were a lot of filmmakers who thought they were seeing a great play in front of their eyes, but in fact the glitter had blinded them to something and they did not see the main point. I was constantly checking with the kids on the film crew to see, "Do you see what I'm seeing?" I knew he could do well, but he is very unpredictable and very scary, but he is also lovable. It puts it all together.

- You don't make it in Marvel or "Fast and Furious" ; On the other hand, you do not make low-budget independent films. You are making a medium-budget film for an adult audience. Does Hollywood treat you well? What do you think of the business landscape these days?

Honestly, I'm very happy to be working in this business at the moment. I sit in a corner for myself and work with people I really admire, such as M-G-M. I'm very satisfied right now. But I'm like this. There are always concerns about "the sky is coming down to earth" and what is going to happen to us about cinema.

The situation has become even more complicated. But it seems that many people are becoming more and more sensitive to superhero movies. I do not hate them. These days, everyone is saying that these films have destroyed cinema. But I do not think so. I mean, you see, we are all worried about people returning to cinemas, but do you know what movies draw people to cinemas? "Spider Man". So we should all be happy about that.

- I used to watch movies like this when I was a kid, and I still do, but if you were twenty-seven years old and you were making your first movies, Would your situation be better in the current environment? My question is, is Netflix and online streaming and better or the space you grew up in?

This is a very good question. And I've been thinking about it a bit lately. Today there is a lot of money out there for those who want to make films. When I started, it was a lot of money to make movies for a while, and that money was the home video market. If you could make your film for less than three million dollars, one and a half to two million dollars, and a few components of the genre If you have it in your movie, you should also be interested in the home video market. Which is basically the same as today's online streaming, now it's called home video or vicas or whatever. It is something that enters your home and entertains you. So nothing has changed that much. There is capital for filmmaking.

It's hard to find what you're looking for right now. Because there is a world of content. I'm one of those people who spends hours flipping through the list of movies and then getting bored. For example, now maybe there are at least ten movies this year that I want to see and I have not seen yet. I either did not have time or I did not have time to see myself. I just spent six hours watching Peter Jackson's documentary "The Return of the Beatles," which I packed. It was great.

- Do you have any interest in working for TV?

I'm not saying no, but I do not know where to start. We talked about this with Quentin a while ago, and I don't think any of us have a problem writing content for television. Sometimes the problem is content editing. Sometimes you are in the middle of writing something and then you see that you have a lot more content than you need and well you say to yourself that this should be a TV series. But this is not the way. It's not just about having a lot of content and then making a feature film. The way is to have concise content, gather good material, tell the right stories, and then make your own film. So I never thought about it that seriously. I do not watch much TV, so I do not know what the mechanism is. I have to learn this. Of course not that I do not know anything. Of course, I have seen the series, but the series has a rhythm of writing and defining a story in several parts has a formula that will be a challenge for me to learn now. The people who are currently in this business are great. They are very skilled. I feel like if I step into this valley I will be like a tourist.

- I can not ask you this; What was the last movie you saw and liked?

You finally caught me. I saw many things. But the last movie I saw and really liked was "The French Report" by Wes Anderson.

Source: newyorker

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