‘Looper’: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt, on Bruce Willis and Erasing the Past

‘Looper’: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt, on Bruce Willis and Erasing the Past

Jul 14, 2012

Joseph Gordon-Levitt was joined by director Rian Johnson and co-star Emily Blunt to promote the time-travel thriller Looper at a Comic-Con press conference before their panel on Friday. Gordon-Levitt stars as a mob hired hitman, who time travels into the past to assassinate targets. He’s tasked with killing an older version of himself (Bruce Willis). This is the first time a character has been written specifically for Gordon-Levitt.

Here are a few highlights from the press conference.

Rian Johnson on writing Looper for Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Johnson: I wrote the part for Joseph. I wrote the script for Joe in mind. We both stayed friends ever since we made Brick and we’ve both been dying to make another film again. Thank god he said yes.

Gordon-Levitt: And also it’s worth adding that’s a real honor and that’s never happened for me before. That someone wrote something for me is really exciting, especially coming from him.

Gordon-Levitt on working with Johnson on Brick and on Looper

Gordon-Levitt: Well I think everything was just easier and I think… he had quite a confident hand directing Brick. I’ve seen a lot of the shorts that he made preceding Brick. I think after Brick and after The Brothers Bloom and now doing Looper, I was working with a seasoned filmmaker that I’m an enormous fan of his and I think that this movie is the one on which he had the lightest touch. It wasn’t to say that he wasn’t involved or aloof, I think he didn’t, it’s like judo. If you know which way the current’s going you can use it to your advantage.

That may be obscure but it’s sort of like, this might be a weird comparison. Jackie Brown to me is Quentin Tarantino’s movie in which he has the lightest touch and I love Jackie Brown. I also love Kill Bill where it’s like saturated with Tarantino-ness. But there’s just a difference there and I think Looper, you can definitely tell it’s a Rian Johnson movie just like you can tell Jackie Brown is a Quentin Tarantino movie. It feels like he knew how to really let it all blossom as it does.

Bringing a young Bruce Willis to Life

Gordon-Levitt: The voice. I find that the voice is what I look for first and foremost with just about any character, but I don’t have an answer to that. And Bruce was really accommodating, open and collaborative with helping me do that. He recorded himself doing some of my voice over lines so I could figure it out. And mostly it was just hanging out with him. Getting to know him was the most useful in getting a sense of how he is.

Bruce Willis reaction to his younger self

Gordon-Levitt: That's one of the highlights of the whole thing, was Bruce seeing me for the first time and tripping out a little bit. Because he's a sweetheart, but he's hard to rattle. So to get any reaction out of him his pretty exciting. There was one point when we were shooting one of our scenes together and really quietly he said, "You sound like me."

Emily Blunt avoids objectifying roles, begged to be in Looper

Blunt: I read about thirteen pages of the script and I was already going to my agent. I was like, "Get me into this movie!" because I loved it so much. I read through it a few times so I had a fairly intelligent idea of it conceptually.

To be honest I think you, it’s the same for a lot of actresses. You look for the female roles that aren’t objectified, that aren’t simplified. This character had such a singular voice and she had a really rich past in which we delve into. She’s a really tough cookie. Tough nut to crack. And I enjoy the nuances and the complexity of that part. It was a challenge to me and I do look for that. I try to mix it up as much as possible. I’m really looking for roles that have me ask the question, "Oh my God how am I going to do this?" That’s what I aspire to do every time I take on a new role.

Time traveling to change the past

Gordon-Levitt: No, the answer is no. I would not want to erase anything.

Blunt: I would agree with him. It’s very hard to pinpoint something because then it would have a ripple effect to everything else. Things happen in the way they should.

Looper hits theaters on September 28.

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