Some old and some new bits in this interview with a German lifestyle mag (lol Gala). Translated by me, feel free to point out any mistakes.
Of porn and love
A comedy about porn addiction: Joseph Gordon-Levitt wows with Don Jon’s Addiction at the Berlinale. He talked with Gala.de about working with Scarlett Johansson and what kind of films did have a negative influence on him.
Fans are waiting in the cold in front of the Hotel Adlon, because not only one but several Hollywood stars are holding court inside: On the first floor Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne are giving interviews, right next to them Joseph Gordon-Levitt is presenting his film Don Jon’s Addiction. The 31-year old actor, wearing a plain plaid shirt and a hoodie, strolls through the hotel, relaxed and without bodyguards. You wouldn’t know he is currently riding a big wave of success: His current movie Lincoln is nominated for 12 Academy Awards, his directorial debut Don Jon’s Addiction is loved by critics and audiences alike.
How did you get Scarlett Johansson for the part as “Babara Sugarman”?
I had always imagined her while writing the script and I was very happy that she liked it. She was very interested in the themes of the movie. She has often been reduced to her body and she doesn’t deserve that – she is a great artist and smart. But that’s exactly what this film is about. Her character is someone who defines their entire identity by standardized images of beauty and sexuality. And that’s unsatisfying and doesn’t lead to a real, honest relationship.
What made you decide to make a movie about porn addiction?
I wanted to tell a story about love and what gets in the way of that. We all have the tendency to compare ourselves to specific expectations of men and women, instead of connecting to each other as individuals. These expectations we pick up from family, friends, church or different kinds of media. How does the media impact our images of love? Is the media good for us? That’s what I’m thinking about day and night, I find that really exciting.
How have you been influenced by the media?
In good ways and bad ways. Sesame Street, for example, did have an enormous impact on me and million other kids since I was little. But I have also been influenced negatively. I’m a bit like Barbara Sugaraman and perhaps I have idealized fantasies from romantic films a little too much. Sometimes I compare my own life to these love stories, which is not a good thing. And that’s what I want to point out with this movie.
Has it been difficult to choose porn clips for the movie?
It has been a very meticulous process. We wanted to find scenes that felt like pornography, but at the same time those pictures should be acceptable for a mainstream comedy. This has been an enormous challenge during the editing process.
What motivated you as an actor to direct a movie?
Ten years ago I bought myself an editing software for my birthday and I loved it so much, that I knew from that point, that I’m going to make a film someday. Over the course of the last few years I made countless short films and videos – little projects with friends or on my own.
Can you imagine quitting acting and working as a director full time?
Oh no, I love acting. It’s a completely different experience, because as an actor you are allowed to focus on just one thing. As a director you have to keep in mind a thousand different things – some of them are exciting, some are boring. But that’s part of the job.
What do you like the most about your movie?
It’s mostly the little things, which the actors brought to the table that I didn’t expect. There is one scene that got a particularly good response here in Berlin: Scarlett gives me a coy look, after having been very mean to my character – and that look is really sexy! The audience responded pretty strongly to that, which made me happy.
Can you realize the success you are currently having?
No, I’m just grateful. I really have been lucky in my life.