‘Looper’: How Joseph Gordon-Levitt Became Bruce Willis

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has quite a filmography: from “Inception,” to “50/50,” to “The Dark Knight Rises.”  Now, he may be taking on his greatest acting challenge yet: Bruce Willis. Gordon-Levitt stars opposite Emily Blunt and Willis in Rian Johnson’s new film, “Looper.” “Looper” is a sci-fi mob movie. Yep, that’s right, time traveling gangsters. In it, Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis both play hired gun Joe, whose job it is to kill targets sent back in time by the mob. Gordon-Levitt plays the younger version of Joe, to Bruce Willis’ more seasoned Joe. When young Joe recognizes one of his targets as his future self, he does what anyone would do: he lets him go.

During the “Looper” press conference at San Diego Comic-Con, the actor talked about how he became the a-lister for the part and what it was like to get the approval of such an imposing star.

“Bruce was really accommodating and cooperative and collaborative with that,” Gordon-Levitt said. “He recorded himself reading some of my voice over lines, so I could hear how he’d sound saying them. Mostly it was just hanging out, talking about music or anything else, that was the most useful in trying to get a sense of what I was going to portray.”

Gordon- Levitt went on to describe Willis’ reaction when he first saw him in makeup.

“He’s a sweetheart, he’s also like it’s hard to rattle him, he’s seen a lot and he’s an understated man,” Gordon-Levitt said. “So, to get any reaction out of him is pretty exciting… We were shooting one of the scenes together, just in between takes, just really quiet, he was like ‘You sound like me.’ And then I was like ‘[expletive]ing right I do!’ Quietly, I didn’t let him see me do it.”

Co-star Emily Blunt told press she had no idea who she was meeting when she first arrived on set.

“No one told me he was wearing makeup … I went in his trailer and I was staring at him, probably oddly, because I couldn’t figure out because I couldn’t figure out why he looked nothing like how I imagined,” she said.  “I was like ‘I know what Joseph Gordon -Levitt looks like and that is not him.’ And then, I started to have a brain melting experience, thinking, ‘Oh, my god, I am not speaking to Joe Gordon-Levitt. I’m speaking to his stunt man. Someone put me in the wrong trailer. I’m telling this guy all about my character.’ It was very strange. And I came out and was like, ‘He looks really different,’ and they were like, ‘He’s wearing prosthetics.’ I think it’s a great credit to the prosthetics guys for coming up with something so realistic. He looked disarmingly different, and not fake. It was amazing, really.”

“Looper” is in theaters September 2012.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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