In September this year, Rian Johnson (writer/director of Brick and The Brothers Bloom) is going to hit us with Looper, an action sci-fi thriller starring Hollywood hero Bruce Willis and fresh-faced youngster Joseph Gordon-Levitt – as the same person. Looper is a tale of time-travel gone wrong, pitting the older and younger selves of hitman Joe Simmons against each other in an explosive (and confusing) fight for survival.
It is the year 2042, and Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is working as a ‘Looper’; an assassin tasked with killing people sent back in time by mobsters specifically to be taken out. One day, he finds that the man he has to kill is in fact his older self (Willis). A moment of hesitation allows his older self to escape his clutches, resulting in one great big metaphysical mess which then has to be mopped up – one way or the other.
Action and sci-fi fans have been excitedly gearing up for the release of Looper for some time, but the film is far from being just your average genre flick. There are intriguing factors to this movie which should peak the interest of a wider audience (and not just lovers of hi-def explosions).
The inclusion of the time-travelling premise is an immediate game-changer, as is the fact that the film is written and directed by Rian Johnson, a director we know is capable of thinking outside the box. His 2005 movie Brick, which also starred Gordon-Levitt, is a hard-boiled modern day noir set in a high school, and was awarded the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision. However, possibly the most eagerly anticipated factor of the film is the combination of the lead duo, Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
After getting typecast in the action genre for a while following the Die Hard films, Willis has successfully proved himself to be a worthy and versatile actor, taking on more complex roles such as in The Sixth Sense (1999). His presence in Looper gives the film immediate action credentials, but also offers some gravitas. His co-star Gordon-Levitt is still far from being a household name, but has been slowly moving up the acting echelons. He took on key roles in Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and has been generally hailed as a quality actor, and one to watch in coming years.
The only slight problem with the casting of Grodon-Levitt is that he looks absolutely nothing like a young Bruce Willis; the film-makers have attempted to get around this by forcing the young actor into a make-up chair for three hours a day prior to shooting, beefing up his jaw-line and reshaping his nose until his normally round and slightly cheeky-looking face became practically unrecognisable.
Whether the combination of two such different actors will work well or not (especially considering that they are playing the same man) remains to be seen, but one thing is certain; Looper is in with a very good chance of becoming the most explosively popular of this Autumn’s releases. The film, which also stars Emily Blunt and Paul Dano, is released in the UK on September 28th.