WHO’S IN IT?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper), Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation), Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights), Tony Danza (Crash), Glenne Headly (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Brie Larson (Short Term 12), Rob Brown (Finding Forrester), Jeremy Luke (Sinatra Club), Paul Ben-Victor (The Wire)
WHO’S BEHIND THE CAMERA?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises), director, writer; Ram Bergman (The Brothers Bloom), producer; Nathan Johnson (Brick), composer; Thomas Kloss (Showtime), cinematographer; Lauren Zuckerman (Bee Season)
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Jon (Gordon-Levitt) is a guy who only cares about eight things: his body, his apartment, his car, his family, his church, his friends, the women he picks up, and most importantly his pornography. One night in a club he comes across a woman named Barbara (Johansson), a lover of romantic movies, and they embark on a relationship that threatens to undo itself when Barbara discovers Jon’s unhealthy obsession…
WHY SHOULD YOU BE EXCITED?
One name you may have heard constantly over the past few years has been that of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Originally starting out as a young actor in shows like 3rd Rock from the Sun and films like Angels in the Outfield, he has risen to higher popularity thanks to appearances in films like (500) Days of Summer, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Looper, 50/50 and Lincoln. Now that his name is as big as he needs it to be, he’s decided to jump into even more inviting waters by taking on his first project not only as a lead actor, but also as writer and director.
The result, Don Jon, is a riotous exploration into the desire for relationships and routines told in a way that only Gordon-Levitt could tell. Embraced by critics in the US for its sheer confidence and strength, especially for a debut behind the camera such as this one, Don Jon is a film that everyone can oddly see themselves in.
Produced in partnership with Gordon-Levitt’s own collaborative website HitRecord – a revolutionary website where struggling artists from around the world can submit their work in a more professional light – Don Jon could easily be mistaken for a vanity project when that is very much not the case. Although Gordon-Levitt positions himself in the lead role he has also cast some actors who can hold their emotional weight just as well if not more so. Its two leading women are Scarlett Johansson, playing against type as a rowdy rom-com admirer with that indistinguishable “Noo Joisey” accent, and Julianne Moore in a role that has more of an emotional depth that one might realise. Both of these women, as well as further supporting players like Tony Danza, Brie Larson and Rob Brown, are phenomenal actors in their own right and have been graced with three-dimensional characters they can easily sink their teeth into. Also, look out for cameos from Anne Hathaway, Channing Tatum, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Meagan Good, the contexts of which should be kept a little bit of a secret (but not that much).
Despite the added weight of the more-than-qualified cast, Don Jon still remains a vehicle tailored for and by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Showcasing his further talents for writing and directing has turned out to be successful thus far, and he is on his way to joining the ranks of Clint Eastwood, Ben Affleck and the like as one of the most successful transitions from actor to filmmaker. Where he’ll go from here – if anywhere at all – is unknown, but what we do know is that Don Jon is certainly a promise that behind the camera, he’s just warming up.