In order to play a younger version of Bruce Willis‘ character in Looper, Joseph Gordon-Levitt underwent three hours of makeup each day before filming. While I personally don’t think the changes are that drastic (I mean, it isn’t like he has to look like the Elephant Man to play Bruce Willis), Gordon-Levitt talked to Moviefone about transforming into Willis and what audiences might discover when watching Looper.
In fact, since actors like to “disappear” into their roles, Gordon-Levitt admits that putting on all that makeup helped him separate himself from the character. He says, “I love it. One of the main ways that I measure my work is if I can’t tell that it’s me. If it’s convincingly somebody else, that means that the transformation of that character is thorough enough that I did a good job. In this movie I got to transform unlike I ever had before.”
Obviously Gordon-Levitt had to do more than just put on makeup — he had to act like Willis too. So, Gordon-Levitt took a crash course in all things Bruce Willis. He explains, “I watched a lot of his movies. Even more so I focused on the audio. I was really into his voice. I would rip the audio off of his movies and put him onto the iPod so I could just listen. He also recorded himself doing some of my voiceover monologues and sent me that recording so I could hear how I could say it… The most productive thing was hanging out with him, having dinner, talking, just soaking it in.”
Beyond his transformation, Gordon-Levitt thinks audiences will appreciate Looper for its “smart” take on the sci-fi concept of time travel. He says, “I think being an audience member is creative –you have to apply your own creativity to the story, because a good movie doesn’t just serve you the point, a good movie kind of provokes some questions and sets a tone. Then it’s up to the audience to bring their own meeting and interpretation to it. Those are my favorite movies. When you’re familiar with a movie and you’re watching it a second time, for me, I think I am more able to bring my creativity to it, to use it however I need to be using it that day. If something is bothering me that day, I can bring that to the movie, and the movie will often kind of give me back things, depending on what I brought. “