In "Looper," Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a hitman in the near future whose targets have been sent back in time; one day, the man who turns up turns out to be an older version of the assassin. To bring the premise to life, Gordon-Levitt had to look (and act) like Bruce Willis, who plays the older incarnation of his character, and that meant spending three hours a day in the makeup chair.
"That was really scary because you commit to that and there's no real way out of it," said "Looper" writer-director Rian Johnson of using practical prosthetics to make one actor look more like the other. "But the biggest thing is Joe's performance, he's really doing Bruce in a big and daring way, but he strikes a balance between obviously imitating Bruce and also building this organic performance."
Johnson's two previous features were playful, smartly knowing takes on familiar genres — he mashed up teen movies and film noir in "Brick" and caper films with a romance in "The Brothers Bloom." So it makes sense Johnson should now take on science fiction, which he referred to as "the tea-kettle cozy of genres, in that it slips over other genres."
As for the mechanics of manipulating the space-time continuum, Johnson admitted, "Time travel just never makes sense."