Gordon-Levitt becomes Willis in 'Looper'
Posted July 14, 2012
The Looper movie panel at Comic-Con Friday centered around one concept: making Joseph Gordon-Levitt look like Bruce Willis.
Writer-director Rian Johnson crafts a sci-fi world with "loopers," a special kind of assassin who use time travel to get rid of those who their underworld bosses want exterminated in the present by murdering them in their past.
The drama of Looper (in theaters in September), though, starts when a looper named Joe (Gordon-Levitt) one day is assigned to kill his future self (Willis).
Much like The Terminator, Johnson said, "time travel sets up this situation with the characters and then gets out of the way. It's the situation with the characters that drives the rest of the movie."
But once he cast Willis, "I was like, uh oh, they look nothing alike."
So Gordon-Levitt had a prosthetic attached to his face every morning during filming to resemble Willis.
His turn is what ends up really selling Looper, said Johnson, who first worked with Gordon-Levitt on the 2005 independent movie Brick. "He's doing young Bruce and it's not imitation. He seems like a character that could be a young Bruce Willis. His performance is this incredible hat trick to watch."
Gordon-Levitt admitted that he's not a good mimic, and didn't think an impersonation was a good move either.
"I tried to internalize him, I guess," he said of Willis. The younger action watched his movie, and also took audio from them and listened on his iPod.
"I learned most from just hanging out with him. He's a sweetheart and he loved this job. This is one of the coolest things he's done in a long time."
What's most striking about Willis is that he's a soft-spoken man, Gordon-Levitt said.
"A lot of big macho guys who like to have a big presence in the room, they're scared that they don't have a big presence in the room. He doesn't have to make sure people know he's there."
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