Joseph Gordon-Levitt recently hung out with Vanity Fair to do a career retrospective video, where he fondly remembered working with Bruce Willis in 2012's Looper. While this was presumably recorded before the Die Hard star announced his retirement last week, it still stands as a tribute to what’s made the Hollywood icon so memorable.
Directed by Rian Johnson, Looper features Gordon-Levitt and Willis as the same time-traveling assassin confronting another version of himself. The younger actor welcomed the challenge, even if the film’s makeup artist declared it impossible to make the two actors identical.
“One of my kind of marks of success as an actor for myself is ‘Do I seem different onscreen from myself?’” Gordon-Levitt said. “It’s probably why Looper’s maybe my favorite performance of mine because it’s the most different. Now granted, sort of cheated with the prosthetics, gonna look different. I get that thrill the most of like, wow, it’s really like it’s somebody else, it’s not me. I did a lot of work to try to do my vision that wasn’t an imitation of Bruce Willis but had sort of the spirit of Bruce Willis, and if I had to pick a favorite just acting-wise, this is up there for me.”
Though Gordon-Levitt already had quite a bit of experience himself at the time, having started acting as a child in projects like Angels In The Outfield, he certainly valued “a moment of validation” from Willis.
“There was another scene later in the movie where we were yelling at each other,” he recalled. “I don’t know if Bruce did this on purpose or if he did it unintentionally, but it was kind of the highest compliment he could pay me. It was right after they said ‘Cut,’ he was turning away and walking back to his mark. He didn’t even say it to me, he just kind of said to himself, ‘Sounds like me.’ And I just turned to myself and went, ‘Fucking yes!’ I think knowing him, that was really his ultra-generous way of paying me a compliment, but it was very kind to do it in that way.”
In looking back at his career highlights, Gordon-Levitt praises other previous collaborators such as Johnson and (500) Days Of Summer director Marc Webb. He also takes an in-depth look at Don Jon, his 2013 writing and directorial feature debut, in which he co-starred with Scarlett Johansson.
Gordon-Levitt is currently starring in the Showtime series Super Pumped and will appear in the live-action Pinocchio as the voice of Jiminy Cricket. It was also recently announced that he would be portraying Johnny Carson in a biopic miniseries.