In Looper, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is only pretending to play the younger version of Bruce Willis, with Willis traveling back in time to confront his “younger self.” But if Willis could really go back in time, would he do anything differently?
Surprisingly, he tells Cheyboygan News that he thinks he actually make more mistakes. He explains, “I would go back and make more mistakes, earlier than I made them. I made a lot of mistakes early in my life, but if I had made more of them, I would have gotten to the answer to those mistakes earlier. I have a lot of anxiety about making mistakes and hurting people’s feelings. There were things I did as a brash kid that I wasn’t paying any attention to – people whose feelings I hurt.” He then adds, “You know what I’m saying. I’d rather not hurt people anymore.”
He’d also offer his younger self a key piece of advice. He says, “I would remind myself every couple of minutes not to take myself seriously. Not to take hardly anything seriously. It goes so fast … all of the things I worried about an hour ago? They’re completely forgotten.”
Yet while it might be easy to talk about what he would do in theory, Willis admits that acting as if he was talking to his younger self was much trickier. He explains, “There was the day-to-day activity of trying to make it look real. Dealing with the idea that when I look at Joe, it’s really me, and trying to make that honest and believable. At first it seemed like an impossible task to try to act with someone that’s supposed to be the younger you. But at some point you’ve just got to let go of it, and believe that you’re in the story and are part of the story. When I saw the film I was so surprised that the magic trick we were trying to do actually works.”
Despite the challenge, Willis doesn’t see Looper as any breakthrough for his acting — in fact, he believes that all movies essentially go for the same goal. He points out, “Our job is the same thing every time. You would think that it’s different because the stories are different. But why you go to the movies is the same reason that we like to make movies: It’s all about human emotion. It’s about what you want and what your goals are. Everybody here does things all the time that are driven by what you want to do and what your goals are. Our job in this film was to be as honest as we could in the sometimes strange circumstances of science fiction.”