Joseph Gordon-Levitt explores sex reality vs. fantasy
By CINDY PEARLMAN September 24, 2013 7:41PM
M 20 Writer/Director Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in Relativity Media's "Don Jon". Photo credit: Daniel McFadden ©2013 Relativity Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Updated: September 26, 2013 3:45PM
He’s 32, single, and lives in LA.
The rest of the personal ad describing Joseph Gordon-Levitt would brag that he’s a successful Hollywood actor.
Love expert? He doesn’t want to be that these days, but can’t avoid it because of the new movie he wrote, directed and stars in called “Don Jon.”
He plays a porn-watching, womanizing New Jersey guy who just can’t connect with a real-life girlfriend (Scarlett Johansson).
What advice would Gordon-Levitt give this guy? “The most important thing, married or single, is that you can’t compare your life to overly simplified fantasy figures on TV and in movies or in magazines,” he says.
“Every human being is unique. Every relationship is unique. If you’re in it, it’s your job to find out what’s unique about it.”
In “Don Jon” (opening Friday), the unrealistic expectations he finds from porn make it almost impossible for him to find excitement in a real relationship.
“When I sat down to write this film, I wanted to tell a story of how people treat each other more like things than people,” says Gordon-Levitt, who has an example.
“Let’s say you’re talking with someone new. The potential is there. Then you see it in the other person’s eyes. They’re not really listening to you.
“They’re putting you in a box — rich, poor, good prospect, bad one. It’s all about, what box do you fit in for the other person.”
He says that in a porn-soaked world, men’s views of women can go off track.
“To me, the truth is porn isn’t all that much different from the stuff everyone sees in the mainstream media,” he insists. “Women are reduced to sex objects in porn or Carl’s Jr. ads during the Super Bowl.
“They’re really the same. And it’s messing up our idea of what is the ideal male or female. What should be coveted?
“We’re exposed to so much titillating imagery that paints such an unrealistic picture of sex and love. I wanted to show how one guy is seriously messed up because what he sees on screen means he can’t enjoy a realistic relationship.”
Johansson’s gorgeous character, Barbara, sees him as a fixer-upper. She loves him but wants to change everything about him.
“It was important to me that Scarlett doesn’t become the villain in the film,” he says. “It’s pretty common in comedies to reduce the female characters to either perfect angels or horrendous bitches.
“No one is one thing,” he says.
He had no qualms about getting naked for their love scenes. “I reminded myself that the thing about sexy scenes is when you put them all together in editing then they look sexy,” he says. “When you’re shooting them, it’s like any other scene.
“I don’t find screen nudity awkward. The important thing is that you’re telling a story. This is just a different way to see this human being that you’re creating on the big screen.”
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