Looper Director Rian Johnson Shares Details On His Time-Travel Thriller

By Sean O'Connell 2012-01-16 07:56:47discussion comments
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Looper Director Rian Johnson Shares Details On His Time-Travel Thriller image
One film we’re anxious to see later this year (officially, as it's on our 2012 Movie Preview) is Rian Johnson’s Looper. A time-traveling, science-fiction, assassination thriller, Looper sounds like it’s in danger of collapsing into a convoluted mess of opposing styles and genres. Yet Johnson’s a deft storyteller who has shown real proficiency in the modern noir Brick and his offbeat con comedy The Brothers Bloom, so we’ve decided we’ll willingly follow him anywhere, even to the future and beyond.

Little is known about Looper beyond this: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brick) plays a killer whose victims are sent back in time. One day, he encounters a target (Bruce Willis), only to realize that it’s an older version of himself. To complete the illusion, Johnson tells The L.A. Times that they’re using prosthetics to help JGL look more like the Die Hard icon. But also, Johnson is hoping to coax some Willis-isms out of Gordon-Levitt’s performance.

“The biggest thing is Joe's performance,” the director notes. “He's really doing Bruce in a big and daring way, but he strikes a balance between obviously imitating Bruce and also building this organic performance."

Which is all well and good. We know Gordon-Levitt can do practically anything he wants as an actor, and channeling the one or two notes Willis keeps in his bag of tricks shouldn’t be too complicated. But what of the time-travel element, which Johnson readily admits “just never makes sense” in most sci-fi films?

"If you just tell somebody the plot, you're inevitably telling them the time travel stuff, but the movie actually uses that as a set-up,” he explains. “The best parallel I can draw is to the first Terminator moviem where time travel is used to set up this impossible situation between these people and then that situation plays itself out."

How will this one play out? Find out when it opens on Sept. 28.
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