But I love that. Because by the time you finally do show us the device, it’s so secondary …
Right, exactly. And it’s mysterious. I took a design cue from the gadget at the original Trinity site, where the first atomic bomb had been set off. I wanted it to look like it felt dangerous, but also crude and mysterious. There’s no indication on the outside of the device as to how it worked. Because that was these characters’ perspective on it. None of the characters in the movie know how it works. They just have to deal with the consequences of this monolithic thing. It’s like the monolith in 2001. It’s basically an alien technology to them, and they just have to deal with what it is presenting them.

Was it always going to be Bruce Willis as “Future Joe?”
No, but it was always Joe. I wrote the part for Joe. But Bruce I cast when we started the process.

Does Joe have a bag of impressions he could have pulled out if you didn’t get Bruce?
[Laughs] I’m sure he can do anything. No, it actually was a problem because they look so dissimilar. And that’s when we had to get into the makeup. His mannerisms sell it, though. And that’s when we realized that Joe had to wrap himself around Bruce, and not the other way around. We know Bruce so well, it just made sense to use that as our constant and have Joe mirror him.

And it seems like you guys captured Bruce before he was, you know, “Bruce.”
That’s actually a great observation. What Joe did was he watched movies from Bruce now. He didn’t go back and watch movie from young Bruce, so he wasn’t imitating a young Bruce Willis. He was creating a character you could buy as a younger version of today’s Bruce Willis. And that, I think, was an important choice.

Looper is in theaters now.

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