Paul Thomas Anderson: “I don’t need to go far to find the world of my youth”

INTERVIEW – The director of Licorice Pizza, a film created in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, goes back to the 1970s, in the neighborhood of his childhood in California.

Paul Thomas Anderson was to take the plane to come to Paris in mid-December. The Covid-19 outbreak has him nailed to the ground. It is therefore from Los Angeles and by Zoom but camera off that the director of There Will Be Blood and Phantom Thread looks back on the genesis of his new film, the magnificent Licorice Pizza.

LE FIGARO. – Why this title, Licorice Pizza ?

Paul THOMAS ANDERSON. – Licorice Pizza was the name of a record store in Los Angeles but it is also a way of referring to a vinyl album. Regardless of its meaning, the expression brings me back to my childhood.

You made it in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the film’s atmosphere is nostalgic and bright. Is it a bubble of gaiety in a world without joy?

I wrote the script long before the pandemic and had to direct it before. I wonder what the film might have looked like if it had been shot in a completely different context, but it’s clear that a special energy and zest was put into it. It was impossible …

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