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There were a few kinks that needed to be ironed out prior to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut Don Jon making its way to theaters. For starters, the festival hit – which wowed Sundance and SXSW crowds earlier this year – underwent a title change, dropping the key word Addiction. Gordon-Levitt also discussed having to trim the final cut to drop from an NC-17 to an R rating. Finally, the film had to scour the release calendar to find the right weekend on which to introduce itself. That final hurdle seems to have been cleared, meaning JGL can go back to worrying about the previous two.
Deadline reports that Relativity Media has circled Oct. 18 as the release date for Don Jon, a contemporary relationship drama that casts Gordon-Levitt as a New Jersey ladies man who meets his match in the gorgeous (and manipulative) Scarlett Johansson. This isn’t Nora Ephron territory, though. Gordon-Levitt’s character, whose nickname is Don Jon, suffers from an addiction to online pornography, which threatens to disrupt the first real relationship he’s ever known. Aside from the two leads, JGL’s debut features a blisteringly ugly performance by Tony Danza (playing Gordon-Levitt’s father), and has a third-act redemption arc for the talented Julianne Moore.
The October release date leads me to believe Relativity might be prepping for an awards run, if not on the Oscar circuit (where the porn angle could make for a difficult sell) then at least on the film-fest track and, possibly, the Independent Spirit Awards campaign. Johansson, Danza, Moore and Gordon-Levitt all deliver awards-worthy performance, and the director easily could attract heat if the movie catches on.
But first, we need to see the final cut to see what Gordon-Levitt removed. The SXSW cut I witnessed had a LOT of pornography. But the raw imagery was crucial to the point of the film, and I wonder what impact might be lost if it had to be scrubbed free for a safer rating.