Joseph Gordon-Levitt had one hell of a 2011, making movies with Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), and then Rian Johnson, reuniting with his Brick director to star in the time-travel thriller Looper. And sure, with three features under his belt Johnson's not a household name like the other guys are, but Gordon-Levitt swears he's an equally big talent, and had even bolder things to say about his director and friend at a press conference before Looper's Comic Con panel:

, I couldn't ask for a better year leading up to directing a movie for the first time. Those three directors all do have a lot in common. When all is said and done, they'll all be three directors regarded in a very similar fashion.

And that wasn't even the biggest compliment tossed around at the conference-- wary of giving away too much information about the twisty film, Gordon-Levitt, Johnson and Emily Blunt all spoke as generally as they could about the experience of making the film. The one part where it seemed safe to get into any details was talking about Gordon-Levitt's experience playing the younger version of Bruce Willis, a process that required him to don colored contacts and facial prosthetics that were so accurate even his own mother and co-star didn't recognize him. Blunt told a funny story about coming to meet Gordon-Levitt in his trailer and carrying on a conversation while also wondering if he was actually the stunt guy, while Gordon-Levitt downplayed the prosthetics, saying the most important transformation was vocal:

The thing I focused on first was his voice. The voice is what I look for first and foremost with just about every character I play. And Bruce was really accommodating and cooperative and collaborative with that. He recorded himself reading some of my voiceover lines, so I could hear how he'd sound saying them. Mostly it was just hanging out, talking about music or anything else, was the most useful in trying to get a sense of what I was going to portray.

That was one of the highlights of the whole thing, Bruce seeing me for the first time and tripping out a little bit. He's an understated man. So to get any reaction out of him is pretty exciting. I was so thrilled about it. There was one point where we are shooting our scenes together, between takes, he was like "you sound like me."

They dug into the movie's themes in vague terms, with Johnson mentioning the film's very title as a rejoinder to the kind of "Would you kill Hitler?" questions about time travel that lead people to assume they can solve everything by traveling back in time and killing the right person: "That thinking creates a self-perpetuating loop. It sounds very high-falutin', but those are hopefully things we wrestled with in the movie." Blunt, for her part, admits her lack of a sci-fi background meant she had a lot of learning to do to even understand the script she was sent:

It's so rich in complexity, and conceptually it's so exciting. I needed a few reads of it for sure. You look for female roles that aren't objectified or simplified. I think it's harder to find that in these more sci-fi movies. This had such a singular voice, this character had such a singular voice, and she had a really rich past for me to delve into. She was a really tough nut to crack.

You can read much more about Looper, and the dazzling sizzle reel of footage they showed off, in Sean's liveblog here. It opens in theaters September 28 this year.

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