He’s been acting since the age of four, but 31-year-old Joseph Gordon-Levitt remains uncomfortable with his fame. “I’m kind of still trying to deal with it,” he says of the growing attention that he’s been getting after a good few years at the movies.
If Inception (2010) made people sit up and notice, The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR), reaffirmed his place among the best in the industry. Now, the actor discusses his latest film, Looper, venturing into film direction and answers the question on everyone’s minds — will Robin get his own film?
Tell us about your new film.
Looper is a redemption story in a way. It’s not one of those time travel movies that are really only about that. It uses time travel as a springboard to ask a basic human question — what would you say to your future self if you could meet them?
You're playing a younger version of Bruce Willis — an iconic hero for action movie fans. Was it daunting to have to live up to his image?
Bruce has always been my idol. Initially, I was a little worried, but he helped me a lot in improving myself to play the younger him. There was a scene where we were yelling at each other and between takes he said, in his off-the-cuff manner, ‘Ah, you sound like me’. That was a glorious moment for me.
Did you have to go through intense training?
I had to get his dialogue delivery and his body language right. I watched his movies a lot, but I focused on the recent ones. I was less interested in coming off like a young Bruce. I was interested in matching him. In fact, he even recorded himself doing some of my voiceover monologues and sent them to me so I could hear what it would sound like in his voice.
Cast member Joseph Gordon-Levitt smiles during a panel for Looper, at the Comic Con International Convention in San Diego, California July 13, 2012. (Reuters)
You also had to look like Bruce, for which you had to wear a lot of make-up. How tedious was the process?
I spent three hours in the make-up chair every morning getting a nose, lips, eyebrows, ears and contact lenses. We were never going to be able to make me look exactly like him, but I think we did enough that the audience doesn’t have to think about it.
You’ve been making short films now and then. With Don Jon’s Addiction coming up, are we going to see you direct more feature films?
Not immediately. But yes, I would love to direct more feature films.
With TDKR, Christopher Nolan bid goodbye to Batman. The only character in the film that did have any further scope was Robin. How about a film with him in the lead?
It's amazing and so wonderful to be part of a film like TDKR. But as far as Robin is concerned, that’s not up to me. I don’t have the rights to that character. If there’s a script I find inspiring and a filmmaker I have a connection with, I’m interested.