Posts tagged New Jersey
Since breaking out in the late ’90s in 10 Things I Hate About You, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has steadily climbed Hollywood’s ladder with an intelligent mixture of roles in indie films like Brick and big-budget movies like The Dark Knight Rises. Levitt wasn’t content just to be a well-rounded actor though. In 2005, he launched the successful online artistic collaborative HitRECord and most recently, he also set his sights on writing and directing a feature-length film.
Levitt’s directing debut is Don Jon, a dramedy where he plays Jon, a beefy New Jersey lothario. Jon can bed a new woman every night, yet none of his one-night stands compare to the satisfaction he gets from watching pornography. All that changes when he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), who doesn’t fall for any of his usual tactics. Barbara knows exactly what she wants and she’s going to make Jon work for it. Plus, she won’t put up with his penchant for watching porn. Jon’s forced to make a tough decision: give up his dirty videos or lose Barbara. However for him, the choice isn’t as easy or as clear cut as you’d think.
I sat down with Joseph Gordon-Levitt for a roundtable interview in Boston recently, where we discussed his influences for Don Jon, his optimistic nature, and taking risks in filmmaking.
Evan Crean: Your grandfather (Michael Gordon) was a director. Did you watch any of his films to get inspiration? And what other ones inspired you with Don Jon?
Click here to read the full interview.
David Chase worked in television for over 20 years writing, directing, and producing shows like “The Rockford Files” and “Northern Exposure” before he stunned viewers in 1999 with his epic mob series “The Sopranos.” The show lasted six seasons and racked up numerous awards, but it arguably made its most significant in television history with its ambiguous conclusion, which left many fans angry.
In the years since, Chase decided to explore a new avenue by writing and directing his first feature film “Not Fade Away.” His tale, which is set in the 1960s and follows a young man from New Jersey, named Doug (John Magaro) as he starts a rock band and tries to make it big. Doug faces the usual trials and tribulations including grief from his working-class cantankerous father (played by “Sopranos” alum James Gandolfini). Musician Steve Van Zandt who played Silvio on “The Sopranos” also assisted Chase, providing tunes he wrote and helping to secure rights to famous songs from the era.
Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable interview with David Chase where we discussed his new film, rock n’ roll, and why wrote an ambiguous ending for his film. Below are some of the highlights of the conversation.
Q: In this movie you really focus on the music: there are close ups on the instruments and you cast no-name actors. Why was that so important to you to really focus on the music?