Emily Blunt Interview For Rian Johnson’s ‘Looper’
In the futuristic action thriller ‘Looper,’ time travel will be invented – but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a “looper” – a hired gun, like Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good… until the day the mob decides to “close the loop,” sending back Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination. The film is written and directed by Rian Johnson and also stars Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels. ’Looper’ is released in cinemas September 28th. Look out for in-depth interviews with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Rian Johnson and Emily Blunt for ‘Looper’ over the next two weeks.
Thematically, what interested you about ‘Looper’?
Emily Blunt: I think the film ’Looper’ is about redemption and I think it’s about the redeeming qualities of love. And also how nurture can alter natures path in some ways. And I guess the question is nurture versus nature, and how much are we programmed genetically and how much are we programmed by how people treat us? It’s so rich in complexity, and conceptually it’s so exciting, but also emotionally it is too! When I first got the script for ‘Looper,’ I read about 30 or so pages and I was already on the phone to my agent. I hadn’t even gotten to my character and I was like, “Get me this movie!” Because I loved it so much (laughs).
What sort of research and references did you use to shape your character Sara in ‘Looper’?
Emily Blunt: My character is not so much involved in the time travel element of ‘Looper.’ So I very much drew from movies like Peter Weir’s ‘Witness’ and Sergio Leone’s ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,’ those kinds of films. They were really inspirational for me for creating that atmosphere and that tension, that pastoral tension that takes place on the farm (laughs). But my character also has a past and she used to live this very kind of bad life in the city which she’s deeply regretful of, so she knows about “Looper” and she knows all about time-travel, and she knows all about the criminal world. She’s left all of that behind her to raise her son, but she’s got a lot of regrets. Sara, she had a really rich past for me to delve into. She’s a really tough cookie, tough nut to crack.
How did you find it working with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this sort of transformative role, he really went there with his part?
Emily Blunt: What’s brilliant about Joseph Gordon-Levitt is that he’s kind of a shape shifter, you know? He is able to play such a diverse range of characters and he’s also a fantastic mimic. So he took on that Bruce Willis voice, that New Jersey twang, he worked really tirelessly to watch Bruce work, he watched his films, watched his interviews to see how he moves, how he looks, how he checks somebody out – all of those things. It was incredibly detailed work and preparation that he did, and I think it shows because I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is kind of unrecognisable in ‘Looper.’ He’s incredible.
As both writer and director on ‘Looper,‘ how did you find it working with Rian Johnson? He must know these characters and this world inside out….
Emily Blunt: (Whispers) He’s my favourite director, ever. And I think he knows that, I think I told him (laughs). He’s the best director I think I’ve worked with. He’s got a fantastic point of view and it’s very clear, he’s got a very clear opinion and perspective on things all of the time because he wrote it. And then at the same time he’s not precious about it. So he’s very encouraging of collaboration and you never felt straight jacketed by him and his vision for ‘Looper.’ He really was interested in what you could bring to it, and I think that’s quite rare in a writer/director – particularly about a film which must have been envisioned in a very powerful way for him in order for him to write it. To have that openness is rare and I loved it, I loved every minute of it. Rian would give you really clever notes, nothing was on the nose, nothing was too generic. He really understands actors and what they need and what the process was. With the emotional stuff he would stay out of the way, with some of the other stuff he’d be very clear about what wasn’t quite working – and he was always right.
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