If anything, Rian Johnson is no stranger to ambition. For his debut feature he put hard-boiled noir dialogue in the mouths of teenagers in “Brick,” and then followed that up with the Euro-flavored heist tale, “The Brothers Bloom.” And in 2012, the director returns with “Looper” a time traveling sci-fi tale that, as usual, is so much more than the premise indicates.
Starring an ace cast, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano and more, the film is set in a future where hitmen are employed by crime bosses in an even-further-future to kill targets sent back in time, and focuses on one such man (Gordon-Levitt), who finds himself faced with the task of killing his older self (Willis). But don’t get too hooked on the time jumping conceit as Johnson tells the Los Angeles Times, it’s really only a device for a much broader tale.
“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. The best parallel I can draw is to the first ‘Terminator‘ movie where time travel is used to set up this impossible situation between these people and then that situation plays itself out,” he explained. But it seems the big special effect of the movie – and has VFX assistance from “Primer” director Shane Carruth – will be the gear that Gordon-Levitt wears to make him physically resemble Willis.
Noting that JGL will be wearing practical prosthetics to help him morph into the shape of Willis, Johnson notes, “…the biggest thing is Joe’s performance, 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.” Exciting stuff for sure.
The September 28th release date still feels too far away, so we’ll have to be patient, but fingers crossed for an earlier festival appearance before then?