Alana Haim, 21, is just 20 years old but has already made a name for herself in the music industry as the angelic soprano behind the sisters’ hit song “Falling.” Today the youngest Haim girl is finally showing her knuckle-biting pizzazz on the big screen.
“Licorice Pizza” is the first feature-length film starring the band and directed by sisters Claire, Genevieve and Dimitri Livan, best known for the YouTube “Frozen Wall” series. The deceptively sweet film, which will debut today, took the sisters seven years to write and film and scored by one of the most talented sound engineers in the industry.
Alana Haim sat down with The Washington Post to dish on her dream role, the secret to sister sisterhood and how singing makes her feel like a 21-year-old.
Do you know the origin of the title of the film?
Claire: Dimitri was a big fan of bowling movies. Like people you see in movies, when they get together for their first bowling team, or they go bowling alone. It’s kind of dark.
I’m sure bowling must have given Alana that burn.
Alana: The main character’s mom is a demon who can’t seem to get rid of her demons and she starts bowling. And every time she bowls she starts seeing demons. It’s a metaphor for life. Your mom is going to get sick and you’re going to lose that person you love. Then she goes on this existential quest to find herself.
Did you see the movie before its release? Did it have an effect on you?
Dimitri: She’s never taken a ride in a car with other children. She’s never seen a man not dressed all in black and having shoes off. Just that she was like: This really happens. We are here. We live this life. And the movie had that.
Were there talks about going into film in high school?
Dimitri: That was not even discussed. My sisters and I really wanted to be the best in school and because we didn’t expect to travel the world and make music and have a career, we wanted to do great in school. The idea of acting was something I didn’t want to talk about. It was very taboo. People would bring it up, but we never had those discussions.
Alana: I’ve definitely seen other teenagers do stuff like the Star Wars, Marvel franchises but I never expected to do it. Even as a kid, when I was in high school, I didn’t aspire to do this stuff because it wasn’t something I ever envisioned myself doing. At one point in my life, music was my plan. I was going to be a country singer because that’s what my dream was. It was really the only path I had in my mind.
Did you imagine it would be a girl-centric film?
Dimitri: Not in the beginning. As it developed, I definitely saw women on screen more. As female directors emerged, it was easier to think of women as part of the teams behind the scenes.
Alana: I don’t think it’s harder to be a musician. It’s just that it’s easier to pay attention to the other people than it is to pay attention to myself.
It looks like you got along well with everyone in the cast.
Alana: I’m really a people pleaser. If I like someone, I like them.
Dimitri: You really worked hard at it. Alana is a natural comedienne. She’s actually funny on the piano — which I don’t think a lot of people knew. She’s just naturally funny.
Why is acting so much different than music?
Dimitri: It’s as much art as you can make when you’re not a singer. When you’re in someone else’s vision, what they’re trying to do feels totally real. At the end of the day, she was really well prepared and very professional. Even though we were 19 in our makeup, we were all at every audition with shoes off.
Do you feel like you’re