Comic-Con 2012: Notes From The LOOPER Press Conference

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt and Rian Johnson talk LOOPER. 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt and director Rian Johnson gave a press conference yesterday for the highly anticipated Looper, the number one movie represented at Comic-Con 2012 that I yearn most to see with haste. Here's what they had to say about that.

Gordon-Levitt talked about the hardest part of transforming himself into a young Bruce Willis. "I focused most on his voice, just because I always think the voice is important. Bruce was very accommodating and helpful; he recorded himself reading some of my lines to help me out. And just hanging out with him, getting to know him, that was the most useful thing I did."

He said that when Willis first saw him in the prosthetic make-up, "That was one of the highlights of the whole thing, because Bruce saw me for the first time and tripped out. He's a sweetheart, but he's also hard to rattle, and he's an understated man, so to get any reaction from him is a big thing."

Blunt chimed in to say that no one had told her that Gordon-Levitt would be in prosthetics, so on the first day of shooting, they took her to his trailer to introduce him and she was "staring at him oddly because I couldn't figure out why he didn't look anything like I imagined. I started to think, 'Oh man, I'm not speaking to Joe, I'm talking to some stunt man or stand-in and telling this guy all about my character and my process.' But what I think is amazing is that although he looked disarmingly different, he didn't look fake."

Johnson added that his favorite part was when Joe's parents showed up and they freaked out. Gordon-Levitt said, "Yeah, my mom said, 'When I stand next to you and don't look at you, you're my son who I know. But when I look right at you, you're not my son!"

From what I've seen, Gordon-Levitt absolutely transforms himself in this role, and evidently there was no other actor whom Johnson even considered casting. "I wrote the part for Joe, I wrote the script with Joe in mind. We'd stayed friends since Brick and had been looking for a reason to work together." Gordon-Levitt added, "And that's a real honor. That had never happened to me before, having a role written for me, so that was a real treat. Especially coming from him."

Gordon-Levitt said that, of all of the action films he's made, including huge blockbusters like Inception and G.I. Joe, some of his favorite action scenes he ever worked on were in Brick, which had an absolutely minuscule budget. He and Johnson worked together on the character of Brendan - the glasses and the trenchcoat and the hunch. And he marveled that he was even cast in that movie. 

"When I first finished doing 3rd Rock From the Sun and wanted to do movies, no one wanted to put me in movies, which is understandable, I can see how that would be distracting. There are three directors that I owe a lot to for taking a chance on me when I was trying to be an actor. That's Gregg Araki from Mysterious Skin, C. Jay Cox from Latter Days and Rian. After other directors saw me in those movies, I think they were able to say, 'Maybe he's not just the kid from 3rd Rock From the Sun." He turned to Johnson and asked, "I mean, I don't know. Why did you put the kid from 3rd Rock From the Sun in your movie?" to which Johnson replied, "I'm sorry, who were you in 3rd Rock From the Sun?"

Blunt was similarly thankful to be cast in Looper. She said after reading the script "thirty or so times" so she could feel informed before meeting with Johnson, she knew she really wanted the role. "I think it's the same for a lot of actresses, to find characters that aren't objectified, aren't simplified, aren't a reactionary character to a man, and it's hard to find that. She's a singular character with a rich voice, she's a tough cookie, a tough nut to crack. I enjoyed the nuances and really the complexity of that part. It was a challenge to me, but I look for that. I look for roles that make me ask myself that question, 'My god how am I going to do this?'"

Gordon-Levitt talked about the way Johnson has evolved since Brick, his first feature, to Looper. "I think everything was just easier. And he had quite a confident hand directing Brick, and I've seen a lot of the shorts he made preceding Brick that allowed him to do that. I think after Brick and after Brothers Bloom, now on Looper, I was working with a seasoned filmmaker. I'm an enormous fan of his, and I think this movie is the one on which he had the lightest touch, which isn't to say he was ever on fault in Brick or Brothers Bloom. It's like, to me, Jackie Brown is the movie where Tarantino has the lightest touch. And I love Jackie Brown. I love Kill Bill too, but it's just saturated with Tarantino. Looper, you still can tell it's a Rian Johnson movie, just like with Jackie Brown you can tell it's a Tarantino movie, but in Looper he's really allowed to blossom."

Working with such a seasoned director helped Gordon-Levitt when he wrote and directed his own movie, the upcoming Don Jon's Addiction that just finished shooting. "I do think that having a 2011 where I worked with Rian and Chris Nolan and Steven Spielberg, I couldn't ask for a better year leading up to the year I directed for the first time. I do think those directors have a lot in common. I think Rian might be a little less known at this point, but I think they can all stand beside each other."

Good lord, I am so excited to see this movie. I honestly can't handle it. It's amazing to be this close to watching it and still know so little about it, which is of course how it should be. Johnson remarked on how he's been able to keep this level of secrecy on such a anticipated movie: "I wrote the entire script in pig latin."