And here’s the TIME article. Nothing really new but I do like the bit about Tom Hansen.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s New Skin Flick
The Looper star chooses flesh over fantasy in his directorial debut
He did, however, make a movie that required him to watch a lot of it.
"It was sort of arduous," Gordon-Levitt, 32, says of selecting adult-video clips to use in Don Jon, a satire in which he also stars, without losing its R rating. “It becomes not fun at all.”
It may not have been fun, but it was necessary. In the movie, released Sept. 27, he plays Jon, a New Jerseyan whose online porn habits derail his off-line life. This year, Sundance Film Festival was dubbed Porndance because of the prevalence of movies about the seedier side of cinema, and Don Jon made a splash with a multimillion-dollar distribution deal. Yet focusing on flesh misses the point, says the filmmaker. His goal, cloaked in sex and comedy, was to talk about how fiction seduces consumers into lusting after ideals rather than human beings. Pornography is just one culprit; the character played by Scarlett Johansson—a woman who talks like Snooki but was inspired by Brigitte Bardot in Godard’s French classic Contempt—is just as affected by sappy romances. Advertising images are indicted as well. It’s a big idea, the kind Gordon-Levitt knows viewers might ignore without all the sex and comedy.
"If I was going to make a whole movie, I wanted it to really say something," he says. "You’re taking a person—in our culture it’s usually a woman—and reducing her to a thing, to an object for your consumption. I think plenty of mainstream media is equally guilty of that as pornography."
Turning that dissertation-worthy notion into a rom-com was a long process. Gordon-Levitt—in person earnest and with little of gym-rat Jon’s macho bearing—saw the parallel between mass media and pornography while being drooled over in ’90s teen magazines. He put some theoretical meat on the concept by taking a Columbia University course called Feminist Texts while getting what he calls “about half a bachelor’s degree.”
His starring role in 2009’s (500) Days of Summer underlined the point. He felt that his character, hipster romantic archetype Tom, idealized Zooey Deschanel’s character to the point of objectification. Yet fans idealized Tom right back, failing to notice that Tom doesn’t bother listening to what women actually say. Gordon-Levitt started writing Don Jon in 2010 but didn’t want to make it until he could get creative control. (Fame may lead to being drooled on, but his growing celebrity brought funding without strings.)
Though it’s his first feature, the production ran smoothly, thanks in part to work he’s done outside of class. Gordon-Levitt runs a crowdsourced production company, hitRECord, which has a variety show set to premiere in January on the fledgling Pivot network.
Tony Danza, who plays Gordon-Levitt’s father in Don Jon, remembers the younger actor shadowing the director when they were in 1994’s Angels in the Outfield. “The year before he took the helm on this, he worked with Steven Spielberg and Chris Nolan,” Danza says. “If he was watching Bill Dear in Angels in the Outfield, I’m sure he was watching those guys.” As for the script, Danza says his reaction on reading it was, “Holy mackerel! I know the kid’s smart, but jeez.”
Gordon-Levitt may use his rom-com as a vehicle for deep thoughts about sex and love and how popular portrayals of them warp our expectations, but not everything is academic.
So, again, Don Jon is not about pornography. It is about romance.
"I think it’s rather idealistic," he says. "If you’re comparing your lover to a checklist, that’s not romantic—that’s consumerism. What’s romantic is finding the nuances and the details that are unlike anybody else. That’s what the most sexy stuff comes from."
I’m neither a French nor an English native speaker, maybe some French speakers can help?
What I got from this interview:
- He got asked about the Ant-Man rumors and denied them once more.
- When asked whether he liked Belgium he says that his mother’s favorite singer was born there (Jacques Brel) and that he likes him as well and is looking for his inspiration.
- A fan says he often portrays superheros and asks, if he has the soul of one? Joe says that everybody has the soul of a superhero. (This is a bit clumsy, it’s basically a variation of his ‘Everybody can be a superhero’ motto)
- Someone asks, if they can have Scarlett’s phone number and Joe says “No”.
- He gets asked, if he thinks that all guys are addicted to porn like his character Don Jon claims. Joe stresses that he wouldn’t say most of the things his character says, that there are many things where they differ.
- One fan says he is an excellent musician and asks, whether he would like to take an acting break and focus on making music. Joe feels very honored that she thinks so, but although he loves music he likes to have the opportunity to make many different things, because he is very eclectic.
- Another fan says that he is very multi-talented. She wants to know if there is anything he can’t do and is convinced that he’s hopeless in the kitchen. Joe says he can cook a little but that he can’t do a jump shot (basket ball).
Joe is featured in this week’s TIME magazine
Here is a small excerpt from the interview:
JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT: WRITER, DIRECTOR, OBJECT OF TEENAGE LUST
TIME: As someone who’s made a movie about the way that fiction influences our real lives, how does that affect making your own fiction, a whole movie that also has that ability to influence people?
JGL: I wanted the movie itself to be guilty of some of these same things and lure the audience down the same road, especially the second act of the movie where the conventional romance is moving right along. It uses all those same devices, the beautiful dolly shots and the sweeping string section, the gorgeous lighting and all that stuff. I like it when movies sort of are, I guess, self-culpable. Godard does this a lot. That’s actually one of the references I brought up to Scarlett early on: Brigitte Bardot in Contempt. The movie is constantly seducing you with her beauty and her sex appeal and then suddenly slapping you across the face and saying ‘look at what you’re doing, look at how you’re relating to this woman on the screen.’ […]
Did the idea start with the pornography angle?
The first germ of the story was probably me feeling like a bit of an object myself and thinking about how media contributes to that. When I was on TV when I was a teenager, they always wanted me to be in teen magazines. I really didn’t want to be in teen magazines but it’s a strong promotional tool for a television show. I remember even then making the argument to people who didn’t get it, or who were maybe even freaked out that this 14-year-old was comparing teen magazines to pornography, I remember making that comparison back then.
If anybody has a copy, please let us know the rest of the interview!