Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Picking Up Women, Batman, and ‘Don Jon’

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As the man who recently got to make out with Scarlett Johansson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the envy of Reddit. But though he answered a lot of unprofessional questions (see below), Gordon-Levitt talked a lot about the film he recently wrote, directed, and starred in, Don Jon. The film centers around a man with a porn addiction (Gordon-Levitt), who falls in love with Johannson’s character. Naturally, Reddit was interested in the film, among other things. Here are the best answers from his Reddit AMA.

On why he wears mismatching socks: 
“My brother always wore mismatched socks. I inherited his collection.”

On any reservations he might have had about his family seeing the sexually explicit Don Jon: 
“My mom in particular really loves the movie. She brought up my brother and me with a lot of the ideals of the feminist movement(s) of the 60s and 70s. DON JON is largely a comedic satire of how our culture treats people (especially women) more like things than like people.”

On why he’s not Batman: 
“We are all Batman.”

On the inexplicable JGLGiraffes meme
“If giraffes made a sound I would write it as an onomatopoeia in this reply.”

On why he’s recently delved into writing and directing: 
“I’ve been making little short films and videos for a long time. Since I was a kid. Then for my 21st birthday, I got myself my first copy of Final Cut. Love cutting. I’ve made hundreds of little things over the years. Don Jon didn’t feel like a short though. It felt like a traditional feature length movie.”

The secret to improving one’s wardrobe: 
“A snazzy smile :o)”

On whether he prefers sweet romantic comedy roles or action flicks: 
“I like the variety. Changing all the time. Identity is a creative process.”

The first movie he remembers seeing: 
“DUMBO”

His advice for picking up women: 
“Put on your listening cap”

If he put Don Jon into Haiku form: 
fap fap fap fap fap / fap fap fap fap fap fap fap / fap fap fap fap fap”

On his preparation for Premium Rush: 
I rode every day for several months. Got thirty-two stitches once, going through the rear windshield of a taxi-cab. It’s at the end of the credits, wait dude, did you see the movie?

On his future in musical theater: 
“Chan [Channing Tatum] and I definitely want to do a musical together. Guys and Dolls is one idea we’re playing around with. Not sure if it’ll happen, we’ll see. But whatever it ends up being, it’s gonna be frickin rad.”

What he looks for in a woman: 
“I do my very best to not have any rigid expectations. I think the best, juiciest, mind blowing love comes as a surprise. If you’re already looking for the items on your wish list, you’re doomed. This is exactly what DON JON is about. Both my character and Scarlett’s character are blinded by unrealistic expectations they’ve learned from pornography and Hollywood movies.”

The most memorable class he’s taken: 
“In highschool? AP US History. Mr. Bechtel.”

On what he’s learned from Christopher Nolan: 
“I was shooting TDKR when I first finished a draft of DON JON. I told Chris I was planning on directing a movie, and he was super supportive. In his characteristically understated way. He never blows smoke with a bunch of compliments. He just started asking me a bunch of questions. What budget was I thinking? How many days would we need to shoot it? Could we do it all in one city? He’s a very detail-oriented director, and having him asking me those questions implied a confidence in me that I found warmly encouraging.”

On whether he feels the same way about Catcher in The Rye as he did in 1997 (check out the hilarious video of a long-haired, dorky Gordon-Levitt below):
“Yes.” 

On whether he actually paid to market Don Jon on porn sites: 
“Definitely. We’re also advertising on “chick flick” stuff and on the NFL. All of which are media that is featured in DON JON. It’s a movie about media culture, it should be in the media!”

On why he wanted Scarlett Johansson for Don Jon:
“First of all because she’s hilarious. See her on SNL? And she balances comedy and sincerity with a delicacy few actors can. Besides that, I thought she’d be a powerful presence in the movie because she’s an acute example of what the movie’s about. Scarlett is an extremely smart person, and a very talented artist. And yet most of what gets talked about is her looks. This part of our culture is what DON JON is poking fun at.”

On internet piracy: 
“You know, what the RIAA calls piracy is tricky. I can’t be too mad at it. When something can be duplicated infinitely at virtually no cost, it’s hard to apply traditional economic rules to it. I think/hope in the future, we’ll all be able to watch whatever movie we want to whenever we want to.”

Comparing 500 Days of Summer and Don Jon:
“I actually think the thesis of 500 Days of Summer is sorta similar to that of Don Jon. In fact, I think the 500 Days character, Tom, is a lot like Jon. Of course, they have very different styles. But they both start out the story pretty selfish. Tom doesn’t really listen to Summer. He’s projecting his ideal fantasy onto her. He’s treating her more like a thing than like a person. Jon does this same thing to everyone in his life. The women he seduces, his friends, his family, even himself. But by the end, he’s begun to break out of his mold and grow up a bit.”

On the changes in his 3rd Rock from the Sun character: 
“I suppose the longer anyone spends on earth, the closer we all get to becoming superfluous characters.”


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