The Insane Amount Of Training Joseph Gordon-Levitt Did For Basically One Inception Stunt

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Inception
(Image credit: (Warner Bros))

It’s no secret Christopher Nolan is morally opposed to green screens, CGI and 3D technology. He shoots solely on film and won’t settle for anything less than a summer big-screen release for his next film, Tenet. And according to his frequent collaborator Anne Hathaway, who worked with him for The Dark Knight Rises and Interstellar, the filmmaker revealed an incredible amount of training Joseph Gordon-Levitt had to do for Inception ahead of her taking on Catwoman. The actress recalled the director telling her:

'When we did Inception, Joseph Gordon-Levitt trained for 12 weeks to do a four-day stunt sequence because he wanted to do every shot. I want you to do as much of the stunt work as you can. So, I need you to be strong enough to do that. I can’t have you be one of those actors that does one take, two takes and then you’re too tired. I want you to do everything.' So, like that was what he told me to get me to embrace the physical side of the character.

Whoa, back up.... three months of training for a single scene? We cannot be sure what sequence Anne Hathaway is referring to from Inception or whether she’d exaggerated the numbers in her head years later, but it’s a known fact that Joseph Gordon-Levitt trained hard for that movie. His most rigorous scene was the gravity-defying hotel hallway scene, which saw the crew constructing a 100-foot rotating corridor and the actor having to nail the choreography and timing.

The hallway scene reportedly took three weeks to shoot even though the footage itself makes for less than a minute of the movie. The technical team behind Inception used a lot of insane practical approaches to the film, including taking inspiration from 2001: A Space Odyssey’s scope when crafting that jaw-dropping scene as the crew of dreamers tumble in the van holding them. Take a look:

Anne Hathaway spoke about the mind-blowing behind-the-scenes details of Christopher Nolan movies while speaking with her Les Miserables co-star Hugh Jackman for Variety’s Actors on Actors series, with Jackman having also worked with Nolan for The Prestige. Hathaway revealed the director does not allow phones on set or chairs, because of the belief that if people are sitting they are not working. She said his methods are effective because he always finishes a film “under schedule” and “under budget.”

Hugh Jackman jumped in and explained how his experience with Christopher Nolan included him being asked to share a trailer with his co-star Christian Bale and a promise from the filmmaker that he'd scarcely use his trailer because he’d be put to work all day, but get to go home by 7 p.m. every night. As the Wolverine actor remembered, the director was true to his word. Based on these few stories about working with Nolan, it’s no wonder his movies stand out and apart from other big-budget releases these days.

Christopher Nolan’s next film, Tenet, is currently scheduled to hit theaters on August 12, coinciding with movie theater plans to reopen this summer. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more updates on what films are coming next. You can start with our 2020 movie releases calendar.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.