Looper at Comic-Con 2012 – by Alex Lamb

As a fan of both Rian Johnson’s work and of the indubitably talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I’ve been excited for their next collaboration, Looper, since the day it was first announced. While the debut trailer worried me that this time travel actioner would be a little generic or underwhelming, those fears were assuaged with Johnson, JoGo and Emily Blunt’s appearance at Comic-Con on Friday, as the middle panel in Sony Pictures’ presentation.

Johnson gave us a longer glimpse at his movie, with a trailer that included everything from the first one plus a voice-over narration from Gordon-Levitt’s character and several more scenes. This narration gave me greater faith in the depth Johnson constructed in his future world, and it elaborated on details that in turn make the story sound more plausible. Those extra scenes included Gordon-Levitt’s boss (Jeff Daniels) chewing him out for his failure and also interaction between Gordon-Levitt and his future self, played by Bruce Willis, explaining what he’s trying to change in the past.

Gordon-Levitt and Blunt both had stories to tell about Willis, and Gordon-Levitt in particular discussed how he acted like Willis in his performance. He talked about how soft-spoken Willis actually is, and that his goal wasn’t to impersonate Willis but to truly embody him in his performance.

Blunt then shared an anecdote about how she was sitting outside on set one day, and Willis, weathered and covered in (fake) blood, brought a parasol for shade over to her and they had a deep discussion about life and love. Sure, Kevin Smith has countless tales about Willis being a dick, but both actors attested that he can be a sweetheart too.

As far as time travel rules go, Johnson believes Looper’s hues closer to the Terminator franchise. And even though Johnson paid great attention to the complexities of the plot and the science fiction details, a running theme that everyone on the panel reiterated was how the story was always at the forefront of the movie. It was more about telling a great story rather than having a cool concept and special effects.

For the full panel, listen here.

by Alex Lamb

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