For Benny Safdie, Making “Licorice Pizza” Involved Eating a Lot of Tiramisu

The man is dedicated to his craft

Benny Safdie
Benny Safdie and Joe Alwyn take part in a Q&A following a screening of "Stars At Noon" during the 60th New York Film Festival.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for FLC

For some actors, honing their craft can involve perfecting an accent or dramatically altering their bodies. Daniel Day-Lewis famously learned many of the skills his character in Phantom Thread would have known in order to play the role. And then there’s the case of another actor who went above and beyond for their work in a Paul Thomas Anderson film — namely, Benny Safdie, who had a memorable supporting role as a closeted politician in the film Licorice Pizza.

Safdie’s immersion in the role didn’t involve learning a trade or acquiring a new language. Instead, he consumed an absolutely absurd amount of dessert while working on the film. As IndieWire reports, Safie shared the anecdote in a recent interview with GQ. The short version? Safdie — a fine filmmaker in his own right — doesn’t enjoy watching actors faking food consumption. And when it came time for him to eat something on screen — as he did in Licorice Pizza — he didn’t want to be part of the problem.

“I don’t know how many tiramisus I ate, but it must have been 30,” Safdie told GQ.

What Happens When Paul Thomas Anderson Makes a Feel-Good Movie?
“Licorice Pizza” sees the director at his most nostalgic, looking back at his California youth with trademark fastidiousness — but also a gauzy sense of optimism

Tiramisu is, by all accounts, delicious, but consuming 30 in a row sounds more like an endurance test than part of a delicious meal. (If you’re familiar with the episode of Review in which Forrest MacNeil consumes an absurd amount of pancakes, you might be feeling deja vu right now — and if you’re not familiar with it, it’s highly recommended.) There’s something especially compelling about a lived-in performance — and Safdie appears to take that very seriously.

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