Tiffany Haddish‘s rising star is nothing to be joked about. The comedy actress has enjoyed a meteoric rise to success since the summer hit Girls Trip catapulted her to fame. She can do no wrong: first she charmed the pants off her costars in her hit film, then she proceeded to charm everyone else in the press tour for Girls Trip, where she told a hysterical story about taking bemused global superstars Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith on a Groupon swamp tour (if you haven’t seen it yet, watch it immediately).
The actress’ vivacious personality and talent has even drawn the attention of Phantom Thread director Paul Thomas Anderson, who raved about Haddish’s ebullient performance in Girls Trip and has frequently spoken about wanting to work with her. And this may come to pass, as Haddish has confirmed that she has discussed potential projects with the award-winning director.
In a delightful interview with Vulture, Haddish revealed that she has spoken multiple times with Anderson about a potential film collaboration.
“I’ve been talking to him on the telephone! I mean, he put his phone number out there, so I had to call. I’ve talked to him a few times and we’re probably gonna work together.”
How did Haddish get Paul Thomas Anderson’s personal phone number? Well, the director was so eager to work with the actress that during his acceptance speech for Best Screenplay at the New York Film Critics Circle awards — read by Phantom Thread star Lesley Manville because Anderson couldn’t attend — Anderson squeezed in a note addressed to Haddish. “I know everyone wants to work with you now,” Anderson wrote to Haddish, “but please, may I cut to the front of the line?”
It turned out to be more than just a fun awards stunt — Anderson actually gave his number to Haddish and the actress called Anderson directly. The two have spoken multiple times about a possible project, Haddish told Vulture. When pressed about what the film could be about, Haddish said, “Well, we’ve been talking a lot about Los Angeles, back when Central Avenue was the Sunset Boulevard of L.A. I don’t know, I don’t know!”
Vulture reporter Kyle Buchanan, who conducted the interview, pointed out that this setting could be the biggest hint about the movie’s subject. Central Avenue and its famous Dunbar Hotel were once the epicenter of L.A.’s African-American culture and society, nicknamed “Little Harlem,” according to KCET. So we could be looking at a period film set in 1950s Los Angeles, where jazz and black culture blossomed. A perfect setting for the effervescent Haddish, who more than deserves to headline her own Punch Drunk Love set in ’50s LA.
This movie is currently no more than a few ideas thrown around between a director and his potential leading lady, but I can definitely foresee it happening since Anderson has been raving about Haddish. During a Reddit AMA a few weeks ago, Anderson named Haddish as the one actor he wants to work with that he hasn’t yet, and he couldn’t say enough about her performance in Girls Trip in an interview with Nerdist:
“I dare anybody to try and do what Tiffany Haddish did in [‘Girls Trip’]. That’s like a fucking magic trip how good she is in that, and I dare anybody to try and go take after take — or do one take as good as she does. She is a fucking force. She’s such a great performer.”
So after Phantom Thread wraps up its busy awards season circuit — it boasts six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress — we could finally see a Tiffany Haddish-Paul Thomas Anderson movie come to fruition.
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