Licorice Pizza, Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘70s Teen Movie, Enters the Oscars Race

After months of teasing, some Twitter sleuthing, and a title change, the trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film has finally made it to the Internet. Formerly known as Soggy Bottom (which, perhaps was just a decoy), the film which screened its trailers in 35 mm at exclusive theaters earlier this month is actually titled Licorice Pizza, and has a limited November 26 release date (before hitting theaters nationwide on Christmas Day).

The film, which is set in the 1970s San Fernando Valley, appears to follow the coming-of-age high school drama of characters played by Cooper Hoffman (son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Alana Haim (of the band, Haim), as Bradley Cooper’s Hollywood producer character Jon Peters (a real-life figure, who produced both the 1976 version of A Star Is Born and the 2018 film starring Cooper) intervenes in their lives. Bennie Safdie, Skyler Gisondo, Sean Penn, and Tom Waits also star in the film. There is also, of course, an appearance from Anderson’s partner, Maya Rudolph (it’s her second appearance in a film directed by her partner, following her appearance in the 2014 film Inherent Vice).

Anderson filmed most of Licorice Pizza, his ninth film and first feature since the Oscar-nominated 2017 film Phantom Thread, in the San Fernando Valley during the pandemic in late 2020. While the movie has an A-list ensemble cast, it appears, according to the Licorice Pizza trailer and official poster, that Hoffman and Haim are the leads (and it makes sense considering that, after all, Anderson has directed more than one Haim music video, after the discovery that the band’s mom, Donna Haim, was the director’s art teacher in high school).