WonderCon 2012: LOOPER Panel Recap; Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Writer/Director Rian Johnson Premiere the First Trailer

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With all the massive movies coming out this year (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Hunger Games, The Avengers, Prometheus, Resident Evil: Retribution, etc), you might have lost track of Rian Johnson’s (Brick) Looper in the mix. That’s about to change. As part of Sony’s presentation at WonderCon 2012, the first trailer from the time-traveling sci-fi flick was shown. While you can get a look at some still images from the film here (including Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s awesome make-up), the trailer hasn’t released just yet. You’ll just have to trust me when I say that this is definitely a film to keep an eye on, even if coverage of other movies attempt to drown it out. The question you have to ask yourself is this: if faced with the order to assassinate your future self, could you pull the trigger?

Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt, opens on September 28th. Hit the jump to check out our recap.

joseph-gordon-levitt-looper-movie-imageLet’s start off with a walk-through of the trailer for Looper. It opens with a narration by Gordon-Levitt explaining to us what it’s like to live the life of a Looper, assassins hired by the mob to execute criminals sent 30 years in the past. While Gordon-Levitt talks about how rewarding the profession is, the image on the screen shows him standing in the dirt next to a corn field with a white sheet laid out on the ground about twenty feet in front of him. Out of thin air, a man appears on his knees with his hands bound behind his back and a hood drawn over his face. Gordon-Levitt’s character wastes no time in blowing the target away with a modified “Looper gun.” Back at whatever time-jumping station he works out of, Gordon-Levitt drop the gun off in a conveniently labeled bin that reads “Looper Guns Here.”

The trailer goes on to show a group of young Loopers alternately living the high life and executing their marks; all in a day’s work. Things go swimmingly until Gordon-Levitt’s future self (Willis) shows up on the edge of a corn field on his knees with his hands bound. Gordon-Levitt hesitates and that’s all Willis needs. He spins around and Gordon-Levitt fires his gun, hitting nothing but a make-shift vest of gold bars strapped to Willis’ back. Willis hefts a gold brick in Gordon-Levitt’s direction, distracting the younger assassin long enough to escape. Then, the chase is on! Gordon-Levitt attempts to track down and assassinate his future self before his fellow Loopers can put them both out of commission for good.

looper-joseph-gordon-levitt-imageWhile the trailer moved too quickly to get a good look at Gordon-Levitt’s make-up, the still images do a fantastic job of letting us see what the Younger Willis will look like. Then, director Rian Johnson and Gordon-Levitt himself took the stage to talk about the film. Their comments follow below:

  • Johnson spoke about the long-germinating project, one he’s wanted to write for a while. He had Gordon-Levitt in mind when he wrote the part.
  • As for the huge cast (Looper also stars Paul Dano, Piper Perabo, Garret Dillahunt and Jeff Daniels), Johnson praised the lot of them and specifically called out Blunt who “really kicks ass.”
  • When asked how he liked working with Willis in the film, Gordon-Levitt replied, “He’s Bruce-fuckin’ Willis! That’s all I have to say!”
  • Gordon-Levitt had to sit through three hours of make-up to be transformed into the younger version of Willis.
  • Gordon-Levitt was thrilled to take on this role, especially because he was able to transform into someone he really wanted to match. He stripped audio from Willis’ films (specifically Sin City) and listened to them on his iPod.
  • The film shot in New Orleans and in China.
  • The aforementioned Daniels had a great line in the trailer, something akin to, “This time travel stuff will fry your brain.”
  • For Johnson, the biggest challenge on the shoot was reigning in the time travel aspect of it, calling it the “secret ingredient from Iron Chef.”
  • Hard to believe, but Gordon-Levitt has been acting for 25 years now. He considers himself privileged to work with people he loves (and whose work he loves) on meaningful projects. He said, “maximizing box office potential doesn’t necessarily lead to a good movie; in fact, it rarely does.”
  • looper-rian-johnson-movie-image-set-photo-time-machineGordon-Levitt compared Johnson to a young Christopher Nolan and Steven Spielberg.
  • Johnson spoke to the influence of a lot of different elements in the film, saying “part of the fun is the way it surprises you.”
  • As Johnson and Gordon-Levitt worked together in Brick, Johnson says he feels like he learned a lot on that film and knew more of what he was doing on Looper. Gordon-Levitt said that he was being humble and that Johnson knew exactly what he was doing on Brick. He compares their working relationship to the early years of high school vs your senior year, where things are similar but you know each other better.
  • Johnson reveals that Looper will deal with all sorts of moral quandaries involved with time travel, especially the basic questions around finding yourself standing across the way from your future self.
  • For fans of Breaking Bad, Johnson will be directing another episode.
  • Gordon-Levitt expressed interest in doing a musical if a good enough project came along.
  • Johnson expressed a desire to be lucky enough to work with Gordon-Levitt for the rest of his career.
  • As a big fan of sci-fi, Gordon-Levitt is most excited for fans to see Looper, even though he has The Dark Knight Rises, Premium Rush, Lincoln and Django Unchained opening this year!
  • Johnson brought in Shane Carruth, the writer/director/star of time-travel flick, Primer, as a consultant on time-traveling.
  • Gordon-Levitt’s make-up was so convincing that his own mother and best friend were freaked out because he acted like himself but appeared completely different.

looper-movie-promo-posterWhile we have the entire summer to get through before we can see Looper, which opens September 28th. Luckily for the film, the heavy hitters will have come and gone by then (even Resident Evil: Retribution opens a full two weeks beforehand). With the excellent caliber of filmmakers both in front of and behind the cameras coupled with the always-entertaining mash-up of mob movie and time traveling, Looper is already on my list for most anticipated films of the year.

Get caught up with all of our WonderCon coverage here and check out the synopsis for Looper below:

In the futuristic action thriller Looper, time travel will be invented – but it will be illegal and only available on the black market.  When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a “looper” – a hired gun, like Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – is waiting to mop up.  Joe is getting rich and life is good… until the day the mob decides to “close the loop,” sending back Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination.  The film is written and directed by Rian Johnson and also stars Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels.  Ram Bergman and James D. Stern produce.

 




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