WGTC: How did you study Bruce Willis? A lot of the performance isn’t even about the make-up, it’s more the mannerisms and the way you talk, how did you nail that down?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: I studied him and watched his films. I also ripped the audio off his movies and put it on my iPod so I could listen to it on repeat. Most importantly though was just spending time with him and having conversations with him and letting it seep in.
WGTC: You mentioned earlier your conversations with Rian about other films. Was there any discussion about how time travel has been treated? There used to be some hard and fast rule that you couldn’t encounter yourself if you travelled into the past and if you did, there would be some tear in the time/space continuum. Clearly though in Looper, you can encounter yourself in the past, so did you guys discuss that at all?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: We talked about it a bit but the time travel is kept pretty simple in Looper because it’s not really a movie about time travel, it’s a movie that uses time travel as a springboard. It’s kind of like The Dark Knight Rises in that way. With that film, it’s a superhero movie that uses the genre but it’s not just a superhero film. It just uses that as a springboard to get at something that’s essentially human and a drama. And that’s what Looper does too.
As far as the paradox of seeing yourself, Rian came up with his own rule set of how time travel works. He’s said before that time travel in Looper is messy, it’s not like how the real world works, there’s no equation. It’s not just instant or clean, it’s not like gears in a clock, it’s more organic than that.
WGTC: How was it working with the actor that played the young boy in the film because he was amazing.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Yup, Pierce Gagnon is his name, fantastic actor. He was five years old when we shot and you know, I was six when I started acting so it brought back a lot of memories in that way.
It’s funny, I’m pretty hard on kid actors. I expect a lot from them. Kids have the capability to be the best actors because they’re not saddled with the baggage and the self-conscious neuroses that we older people have. They’re closer to that uninhibited place where you can just pretend. I think some of the greatest film acting performances ever have been delivered by kids. And Pierce always delivered. He’s such a sweet, fun loving, jubilant little guy.
WGTC: We need to mention your recent guest role on SNL, what was that like? Did you know you’d be out of your clothes within the first five minutes?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: That was an idea I had on Tuesday actually. [laughs] SNL is great though, I love it. It was so much fun. You know, there isn’t much live performance left on TV, it’s kind of just news and sports so the thrill of knowing that what you’re doing right now is going out to audiences right this second is unparalleled, there’s no other experience like it. It really gets the heart going.
That concludes our interview with Joseph but we’d like to thank him very much for talking with us. Be sure to check out Looper, in theatres this weekend.