‘Licorice Pizza’ Used ’70s Film Tech to Tell A ’70s Love Story – Contenders L.A.

Licorice Pizza cinematographer Michael Bauman, editor Andy Jurgensen and production designer Florencia Martin said director Paul Thomas Anderson used 1970s processes to create the MGM/United Artists Releasing film. The trio spoke about the upcoming pic, about coming of age in the San Fernando Valley in that same era, during Deadline’s Contenders Film: Los Angeles award-season event Sunday at the DGA Theater.

“Most of the time you’re using more modern glass, you get a sharper image,” Bauman said. “That was the exact opposite of what we’re doing here. We had a set of lenses Gordon Willis used from the ‘70s. The C Series is a very old series of lenses too. It adds that texture in the image.”

Jurgensen said Anderson shot Licorice Pizza on 35mm film, already a rarity in 2021 Hollywood; 70mm prints are blown up from 35. Jurgensen also edited film stock, rather than using digital software.

“We did cut negative,” Jurgensen said. “Everything is photochemical, not digital.”

Bauman said he screened film dailies every day, like filmmakers would have done to review their footage in the ‘70s before video playback became widespread. They would evaluate not only performances from the likes of the young leading actors Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman, but also the visual aesthetic they were capturing.

“You can have a day where you’re shooting like ‘Oh my God, I don’t know if this is working’,” Bauman said. “The next day you can take a look at it and be like, ‘Oh, this is great.’”

Martin had to transform Los Angeles back to the way it looked in the ‘70s. Every location was captured in camera with no green screen. “We were scouting to find intersections, big streets where we did full takeovers and designs of 10 storefronts,” Martin said. “It was just taking away and really committing to de-modernizing the Valley and bringing it back to the ’70s.”

‘Licorice Pizza’ Trailer: Paul Thomas Anderson Heads Back To The Valley

One location was available to rebuild from the ground up. Martin said an abandoned restaurant at the Van Nuys Golf Course gave her a blank canvas.

“We found a restaurant that was completely dilapidated at the Van Nuys Golf Course,” Martin said. “We remodeled the entire interior and turned it back to the classic American watering hole of the Valley, Tail o’ the Cock. We went right outside to the golf course and transformed it into the fire pit you see in the trailer.”

Licorice Pizza, which also stars Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bradley Cooper and Benny Safdie, opens November 26 in limited release.

Check back Tuesday for the panel video.

Deadline Contenders Film Los Angeles Official Sponsor is Aero.

Other sponsors include: Michter’s, Mezcal Los Siete Misterios, Eyepetizer, Final Draft and modMD.

Partners include: Modern Resale, Tidelli and Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea.

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