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Trailer Watch: Joseph Gordon-Levitt Nails Young Bruce Willis in Rian Johnson's Kinetic 'Looper'

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood June 27, 2012 at 4:20PM

Joseph Gordon-Levitt isn't the most obvious candidate to play a young Bruce Willis -- opposite Bruce Willis, no less -- but after seeing this pulse-quickening, excitingly stylish new UK trailer for Rian Johnson's "Looper," we're buying into the unlikely faceoff hook, line and sinker...
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Joseph Gordon-Levitt in "Looper"
Joseph Gordon-Levitt in "Looper"

Joseph Gordon-Levitt isn't the most obvious candidate to play a young Bruce Willis -- opposite Bruce Willis, no less -- but after seeing this pulse-quickening, excitingly stylish new UK trailer for Rian Johnson's "Looper," we're buying into the unlikely faceoff hook, line and sinker.

Thugs send poor suckers they want bumped off to assassin Gordon-Levitt. The catch? The thugs live in the future, and ship their desired hits back to him via time-travel. The other catch? One of Gordon-Levitt's assigned hits is an older version of himself, from the future, played by Willis. Emily Blunt co-stars, and packs some heat.

Wait for the moment when Gordon-Levitt says, "You don't know this already?" It's like Willis incarnate.

This isn't the first 2012 sci-fi film that's featured a younger actor playing an older one. Josh Brolin gamely portrayed Tommy Lee Jones in "Men in Black 3," in another time-traveling, fate-changing scenario. Brolin kept his natural mug to play Jones, whereas Gordon-Levitt sports cosmetically thinned lips and more defined eyebrows to look like Willis in "Looper." Sometimes digital and/or prosthetic changes can distract from a performance, but if this trailer is any indication, Gordon-Levitt's au naturel ability will shine through.

The film releases September 28.

This article is related to: Video, Trailers, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rian Johnson, Emily Blunt, Bruce Willis


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.