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How Licorice Pizza Brought a Gay LA Political Leader's Story to Life

How Licorice Pizza Brought a Gay LA Political Leader's Story to Life


Out chats with actress Alana Haim about the queer representation in Paul Thomas Anderson's newest coming-of-age film!

Paul Thomas Anderson's latest feature Licorice Pizza is already making the rounds as a major frontrunner this awards season, and besides being a visually stunning, slice-of-life, coming-of-age love story that takes viewers back on a nostalgic trip to life in the San Fernando Valley in the '70s, the film also features a brief look into the story of one of Los Angeles' unsung queer political figures, Joel Wachs.

Out got the chance to speak to one of Licorice Pizza's breakout stars Alana Haim (you already know her as a member of the indie-pop band Haim that she's in with her sisters Danielle and Este) to chat about the film's gay inclusion, what it was like representing The Valley in a PTA film, and more!

"Joel Wachs was such an important person to The Valley and he did so many incredible things in his time in office and he was an amazing councilman and I'm just such a fan of his work and portraying that part of the movie was very emotional," Haim told Out about what it was like getting to help tell the story of former LA City councilman Joel Wachs (played by Benny Safdie), who had to keep his sexuality a secret during his first mayoral campaign in the early '70s.

"It was a super emotional part of [the film], I think it was the most emotional that I had been during the whole process," she continued. "Just living that through that scene, it broke my heart. It was just so crazy that that was even a thing. You know what I mean? It broke my heart to the point where it made me so angry. I remember being so angry after that scene just because I had never met Councilman Joel Wachs, but the fact that he had to go through something like that broke my heart and he has now gone and done incredible things. I'm so happy for him. And I cannot wait to meet him, but it was one of the most emotional, I think the most emotional scene of the movie."

Licorice Pizza hits theaters nationwide on December 25!

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