Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, and Director Rian Johnson Discuss Looper
07.14.12 by Ryan
Sony continued its sci-fi movie panel Friday with Looper, an original sci-fi thriller from writer-director Rian Johnson (Brick) that stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a hitman named Joe (the actor said he was named that because Johnson wrote the role specifically for him) who works for a mafia in the future, who sends him his targets via time travel. When Joe is met with his future self (Bruce Willis), he hesitates and has to try to eliminate himself before his bosses do. Johnson revealed that he conceived of the story during a time when he was reading a lot of sci-fi author Phillip K. Dick's books (one of the writer's stories was used as the basis for Sony's other sci-fi panel, Total Recall).
I came up with the idea about ten years ago and there was a point where I was reading a lot of Phillip K. Dick and so I was kind of steeped in his books. And I just had this idea for the basic plot of a mob in the future that employs hitmen in the past and they way they get rid of the bodies that they need gotten rid of is just kidnap the person, zap them back in time and the looper kills the person and disposes. And that was really just a away to set up the situation where an assassin is faced with his future self and so that's where the movie kind of takes off.
The footage shown during the panel was essentially an extended trailer, which focused mostly on how a looper's job, and relationship to the mafia in the future, works. An extended look at Gordon-Levitt and Willis' talk in a restaurant was revealed, as well as a tense coversation between Gordon-Levitt and mob boss Jeff Daniels. Barely appearing at all was Emily Blunt, who was on hand at the panel, but whose character is still being kept in the dark for now. All Blunt would reveal was that her character was a "bad-ass" who gets "embroiled in all of this mess when Joe is a pussy and let's Bruce go on the run."
While Johnson wrote the part for Gordon-Levitt, casting the actor as a young Willis was not without its complications. "After we cast Bruce, we realized 'uh oh, they don't look anything alike,'" Johnson told the crowd. "So part of the answer to that was Joe in the make-up chair for three hours every morning getting a slight prostethic applied and we just picked a couple key features to change because we knew we weren't going to transform Joe to look like a young Bruce so we figured if we could just do a little bit to the nose, a little bit to the lips, just to give enough of a handhold so that you go with it. And so Joe was a great sport and went through that every morning. But also Joe's performance in the movie is really what ends up selling it."
Willis, who was not in attendance at the panel because he was busy shooting A Good Day to Die Hard overseas, was also critical to Gordon-Levitt's performance. "I'm not very good at impressions," Gordon-Levitt admitted. "I watched all his movies on repeat, I took the audio from his movies and put them on my iPod so I could listen to 'em. Bruce also recorded some of my voiceover lines so I could listen to what he sounded like. But really the most I learned from I think was just hanging out with him. He's a super cool guy."
What Gordon-Levitt didn't have to was train for the role. "I didn't work out for s**t on this movie," Gordon-Levitt admitted, though Blunt did have to do some unique physical conditioning. "The hardest thing really was learning how to chop wood really convincingly," said Blunt. "I had logs transported to my house in L.A.to learn how to do[it]."
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