bruce willis looper Bruce Willis 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. 

The trouble for Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Joe comes when he “lets his loop run,” in the form of your older Joe….

Bruce Willis: Yeah. Letting your loop run means that you’ve shown up to work, your older self has appeared in front of you, and – for whatever reason – you’ve let your older self escape. It doesn’t happen often, because if all goes correctly, your older self should have a sack over his head and be gagged and tied. You should just shoot him without knowing what you’re doing. But my character shows up in front of his younger self untied and no sack over his head. I get the drop on him and escape.

Without giving much away, your character is in part motivated by how bad things have gone in the future….

Bruce Willis: Yeah. Everything is under the control of a guy called The Rainmaker. He’s orchestrating mass executions – a reign of terror. But my character knows where the Rainmaker lives in young Joe’s time. When I go back in time, I go on a mission to track down the Rainmaker and fix the future. Of course, nothing is as easy or as simple as it seems (laughs).

With Joseph Gordon-Levitt portraying a younger version of yourself in ‘Looper,’ I can imagine that may have been an odd experience at times – especially considering the scenes where you meet face to face?

Bruce Willis: I was sitting across from Joe across a table. I was supposed to act and get all my lines right, but I just found myself looking at him and thinking how weird it was (laughs). It was an honour. It’s really a strange thing to see someone that looks like a young version of yourself. He’s a great actor, I love his work and I just love what he did in this film, ‘Looper.’ He picked up some of my cadence of speaking, which was odd, and yet, really cool at the same time.

looper bruce willis joseph gordon levitt Bruce Willis Interview For Rian Johnson’s ‘Looper’

What was the approach for you acting opposite someone like that considering the dynamic?

Bruce Willis: It seems like an impossible task to try to act with someone who’s supposed to be you, supposed to be the younger you. And at some point you have to let go of it and just believe that you’re in the story, that you’re part of the story. Science fiction films especially are like magic tricks, and it kind of fools you. When I saw ‘Looper’ I was so surprised that the magic trick that we were trying to do works. Because it’s so hard to look at someone else and go, “Arr yeah, that’s like a young me!” (Laughs) You just have to believe it and go with the magic trick part of it. Being in an emotional place is much easier to manage.

For me, ‘Looper‘ has the dual elements of being incredibly entertaining, yet at the same time emotionally involving and smart. Was that something that appealed to you?

Bruce Willis: Yeah. It’s a really smart script – really smart. And it just made me want to do it. I didn’t really compare it to anything else. ’Looper,’ it’s a science fiction film, a really great science fiction film, and the only thing I can compare it to is other films that I’ve been in that have a science fiction background – but this is unlike anything else, it was very exciting. But the film above anything, it was an emotional process above being a science fiction film. I don’t think Rian Johnson ever referred to it as a science fiction film to us. It was a day to day activity to try to make everything look and feel real, trying to deal with the idea that when I look at Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Joe, that it’s really me. There are a couple loves stories woven through ‘Looper,’ and those stories are why people do what they do in the film – I really liked that.

What part of ‘Looper’ really moved you?

Bruce Willis: While I was shooting the film I never thought I was doing anything wrong as the character, I never thought that my character does really terrible things. And I never judged my character of old Joe, I was just so caught up in those goals of what old Joe wanted to do in the film that I took it for granted that I had to hurt other people – and really innocent people. I never thought that was a bad thing while I was doing it. When I saw ‘Looper,’ I was emotionally moved some of things I was doing for my characters goals, sort of loving goals.