Licorice Pizza: Editor Andy Jurgensen
January 27, 2022

Licorice Pizza: Editor Andy Jurgensen

Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza is the story of Alana Kane and Gary Valentine growing up, running around and falling in love in the San Fernando Valley in the early 1970s. The Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures and Focus Features film was shot on 35mm film (anamorphic), and using Panavision’s Millennium XL. Andy Jurgensen cut the project, working on an Avid Media Composer.

One of the film’s most challenging scenes, according to the editor, takes place
inside the Tail O' The Cock cocktail bar, where Alana, Jack Holden (Sean Penn) and Rex Blau (Tom Waits) are reminsicing, prior Holden attempting to recreate his famous motorcycle jump.

“The initial structure was a lot different,” recalls Jurgensen. “The beginning of the scene was meant to crosscut between Jack and Alana's conversation at the table, and a scene with Gary and his friends back at Fat Bernie’s, but pretty early on, Gary's scene got scrapped. Rex recognizes Jack from across the room and they reminisce about the old days of movie-making, including a passionate monologue from Rex. After Gary and friends enter, we follow Rex outside as he begins prepping for the stunt.” 

Upon watching the first assembly, Jurgensen says the team realized the sequence was way too long and not in balance with the other 'episodes' in the film. 

“Rex's monologue and prep outside were removed, and we tightened up the dialogue to make it more of a drunken banter between friends. While Jack and Rex are getting riled up, Gary comes in, spots Alana, and their showdown begins. Our challenge was to create a chaotic scene without losing the audience's understanding of the geography of the room and all the different eyelines. The final cherry on top was timing out a couple Johnny Guarnieri piano tunes in the background to accent all of the dramatic entrances.”