Fans of Haim fortunate enough to have seen the group perform live in the pre-pandemic era know that Alana and her oldest sister, Este, are, well, hams. In between songs, the two compete to see who can make the audience laugh the most. “It’s really just me and Este’s comedy hour,” she divulges, noting that this was the most “acting” experience she had prior to Licorice Pizza. “Paul really knew that, under pressure, I could try to make people laugh, and I think that’s what really came down to me being able to know how to play this part. He let me run free.” It was this mutual level of trust that gave Alana the confidence to not only explore a new medium but to also take risks, including several memorable lines that were totally improvised. “I had so many ideas. A lot of them made it into the movie, which is shocking. I mean, ‘What does your penis look like?’ was an improv,” she shares. Another memorable line, “You’re talking about pinball machines, and I’m a politician,” is also an Alana Haim original.
Alana’s on-screen presence is so comfortable that many viewers will be shocked to learn that she did very little to prepare for this leading role. However, that’s not an indication of her innate work ethic. “I have been practicing my guitar since I was 9,” she explains. “I put in my 10,000 hours working, playing guitar, and also playing shows. So I feel very comfortable in that sense.” But when it came to acting, something totally new, Alana was actually discouraged by Anderson from taking professional lessons. “Paul really just guided me through this thing. Every day, I’d be like, ‘You know, I’ve never done this before,’ and he’d be like, ‘I know.’ And then we would continue filming, but I was constantly asking if I was going to get fired,” she says.