Joseph Gordon Levitt talks the art of carefully edited porn with i-D.
R is for Sundance. Or at least that is what Joseph Gordon-Levitt is hoping for with the premiere of his directorial debut Don Jon’s Addiction, an unlikely romantic comedy about a guy’s love of porn. Insert booty bounce and doggystyle clips here.
Gordon-Levitt plays the lead, a contemporary, porn-addicted Don Juan-type straight from the Jersey Shore. He is matched by his equally shallow love interest played by Scarlett Johnanson. Anyone who has seen her sell chandeliers on Saturday Night Live will appreciate how naturally she slips into the accent. The film skillfully delivers a story about a male and female perception of love and sex in a generation of easy access porn and unrealistic mainstream movies.
You use actual porn clips in the film, how does that translate to the big screen? It actually feels like you are seeing more than you are, but they are carefully edited porn clips. Technically it is nothing you don’t see in an R rated movie. When we first cut the film, we just put them in there. And we thought, this is a lot of penises and vaginas for a mainstream production. So we decided to cut all the penises and vaginas. I always intended this film to work on a commercial level.
You also wrote the script. Where did the story idea come from? I wanted to tell a story about love and how people objectify each other. Guys do it to girls, girls to guys. We learn it from many different places. Guys learn from unlimited pornography on the internet. And girls learn it from Hollywood. And neither of these places have our best interests in mind. I find it hilarious, so I thought it would make a great romantic comedy.
This is your first time directing, how does it compare to acting? You get to be involved in a lot more, like the music. That was great. And the editing. You get the whole experience from start to finish. I had a lot of help along the way, Looper Director Rian Johnson gave me a lot of advice.
You have a pretty all-star cast, how was it working with them on set? We all worked well together. I actually worked with Tony Danza on Angels in the Outfield years ago. I remember we would rollerblade around the set. It was the 90s, people rollerbladed. For his character in this film, he had to be a real dick. We did a few takes. I kept being like, ‘I love you man, but you have to be shittier.’ He really loses it, it’s great.