Spoiler Alert: Ten Mysteries of ‘Looper’ Revealed

In one of the diner scenes in Rian Johnson’s new sci-fi-action-drama combo-pack, Looper, older Joe (played by Bruce Willis) says to his younger self (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), “Try not to think about it too much.” And when it comes to time travel films, perhaps it is best to simply let your mind bend and mold to the story rather than trying to analyze and rationalize every paradox and movement of the world they’ve created. Looper is film with massive ideas and a plot that reveals its layers the deeper you travel through it. The film feels like weaving your way through an intricate web of details and plot twists that are structured masterfully to keep a pace that never lets your excitement fall–even when it seems the film forgets what genre it’s inhabiting. And after watching, it’s not hard to assume that Johnson was working with a vast subconscious pool of influences–from the dystopian futures of Ridley Scott to the existential questions of Chris Marker, creating a time travel thriller for the modern man’s anxieties that still felt as human as it did alien.

But however you felt about the film, you’re bound to leave the theater with a few questions unanswered, your mind a bit hazy to all that you just witnessed.  Thankfully, /Film has provided some answers with the help of Johnson himself. Focused on revealing ten mysteries of of the film, dig into their interview–but only if you’ve already seen the film.


4. How does murder work in the future? Why can’t the mobsters kill there and what happens when Joe’s wife is killed?

The film mentions briefly mentions that, in the future, tracking technology stops murders from happening. But we explicitly see Joe’s wife murdered in the future. Johnson said this was one of several things he worked out in his head but didn’t put in the movie because it felt superfluous to the story. He instead explained it to us.

“Everybody in the movie has this nano technology tracking in their body and whenever there’s a death, a location tag is sent to the authorities from this tracking material. So they can’t kill people in the future. But if they send them back, that is not triggered.” He continues, “The material is powered off the body’s heat and it has a two year life after the person dies.” As for the wife, that was a big mistake made by the mobsters and the reason we see the shot of the village burning is that’s their half-assed attempt to cover it up.

5. Knowing a looper killed his mother, is the Rainmaker closing all these loops for revenge?

“Or is he doing it because he’s come to power and he’s wiping everything out? It’s a good question.” says Johnson, suggesting there’s really no answer.

6. Why is it essential for a looper to close his own loop? 

This is another one of those questions Johnson had answered in his head but didn’t put in the movie. In fact, he even conceived a scene with Abe addressing it but never shot it.

“People in the future, all they know about time travel is to be afraid of it. So they’re trying to keep it as tight as possible. So the initial reason they set it up this way was to keep the causality loop as tight as possible,” Johnson said. Because, for example, if someone else kills your older self and you have to exist with your own murderer for 30 years, what’s stopping you for murdering them or doing something to screw everything else up?  ”Every bit of evidence is gone from that loop when you kill yourself,” he said.

7. Was Joe in love with Sarah and was this something explored more in different versions of the script?

Johnson said he explicitly didn’t want Joe and Sarah to fall in love because Joe’s decision at the end has to be because he sees himself in Cid, not out of love for Sarah. Instead, their love scene is just “two lonely people in an intense situation together.” Johnson did admit, though, “There are hints that if Joe had lived, something might have happened, but in the context of the story? No.”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Now a Bruce Willis Impressionist

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis are both starring in Looper, the new film from the Rian Johnson, the madman behind the mind-bending Brick. Johnson’s going balls-out on this one, casting Gordon-Levitt and Willis in what is essentially the same role. Sit down for this one, because it’s going to take a lot of effort to make your silly little brain believe that Gordon-Levitt could be cast as a young Bruce Willis.

Take a peak at the trailer below:

Well! That’s certainly a taco wrapped in a burrito wrapped in a pizza stuffed into Ryan Gosling’s gym bag from Drive, isn’t it? Gordon-Levitt’s fake-Willis look is subtle enough, meaning if you went to the movies without your glasses on or, maybe, high, you might say, "Yeah, sure, that looks like a young Bruce Willis, but 40 pounds lighter and a full head of hair!" (We all remember what Bruce Willis looked like 30 years ago, right?)

According to Yahoo, the process of transforming Gordon-Levitt into Willis actually took a team of people who made casts of their faces and stuff:

The task of changing Gordon-Levitt’s look went to makeup designer Kazuhiro Tsuji, who had previously worked with the actor on G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Johnson said that Tsuji started by taking casts of both Gordon-Levitt’s and Willis’ faces, and then "he started sculpting clay onto this perfect model of Joe’s face." The process of finding the correct balance of facial features took several months, and Gordon-Levitt ended up spending three hours a day in the makeup chair getting the prosthetics applied.

Meanwhile, Gordon-Levitt perfected (not my term, btw) Willis’s voice by recording and listening to "dialogue from movies like Sin City." Because when one thinks of a classic Bruce WIllis film, the first title is obviously Sin City. Anyway, this movie could be great and I will probably see it and just throw up my hands at the absurd premise because, you know what? Time travel. All bets are off. 

‘Looper’ Trailer: Time-Traveling Joseph Gordon-Levitt Hunts Himself

Here’s one for heavy concepts: In Rian Johnson’s Looper, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a type of assassin — naturally called a looper — whose job it is to kill people sent to him from the future. As in, criminal mobs from 2072 time travel the person they want gone back to 2042, where JGL pumps them full of lead. Everything’s going fine until he’s tasked with a killing out of the ordinary: His future self, played by a grizzly Bruce Willis. In the moment where he hesitates for the kill, Willis escapes and hijinks ensue, because nothing’s worse in a sci-fi film than someone from the future meddling in the past. 

It’s definitely ambitious: Director Johnson, previously known for quirky genre exercises like Brick and The Brothers Bloom, has never been shy about breaking convention and doing something strange. In this case, it means slicking JGL with makeup to make sure he resembles a younger Willis, an effect which is partially believable and partially absurd, especially when they try to make the same grumpy guy facial expression.

But the mystery of what remains to be seen — why Willis is up for assassination, and how time-travel can be retroactively achieved — seems to make Looper as interesting as any other movie you might see this year, assuming science fiction is your bag. Which, why the hell not? Jeff Daniels, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Piper Perabo also star. It’s out on September 28.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Transforms into a Young Bruce Willis for ‘Looper’

Brick director Rian Johnson held a panel for his new movie Looper at Wondercon, along with the film’s star Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It’s got a crazy time travel storyline and calls for make-up so intense, you probably won’t recognize the twee heartthrob.

Gordon-Levitt plays a hitman whose victims pop up from 30 years in the future to be killed.  The twist comes when his older self, played by Bruce Willis, is sent back to be offed. 

In order to achieve believability, Gordon-Levitt sat in make-up for three hours a day to change his lips, nose, and eye-color. He looks different for sure, but I don’t know if he would have been cast in Die Hard. “I wanted to match," he told the panel. "It’s not an ‘impersonation’ but it’s definitely based on Bruce, so we hung out and I got to know him pretty well.”"

joseph gordon-levitt Looper

Gordon-Levitt also reportedly studied audio tapes of Willis to try and sound like him, though EW thinks the “difference is so subtle that many (okay, me) didn’t even register it during the quick teaser trailer that unspooled before Gordon-Levitt joined the panel.”

The film is slated to open in September and also stars Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels and Emily Blunt.