But, back to Gordon-Levitt. He landed a dream role when Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller's script for the second Sin City flew across his desk. We're taught not to judge a book by its cover, but Gordon-Levitt didn't need to look any further than the script's front page before signing up to play Johnny, Sin City's luckiest man alive. It's his opportunity to live his childhood cartoon dream; to immerse himself in the perfect world of cartoons. Lucky for him, he gets to live the best of both worlds: human and fictional.
What drew you to playing Johnny?
“Honestly, just getting to become a part of that world and play a Rodriguez bad ass. I grew up watching his movies and wanting to live his movies. There was such a thrill to get to do it.”
It looks like it was an arduous shoot. What was the one thing that made you say yes right away?
“The thing that I liked on the page most about my character was the very cover of the script where it said Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez. I remember when the first one came out and leaving the movie theater thinking, 'I’ve never seen anything like this.' It’s somewhere in between a cartoon and a live action movie. It’s perfect.”
You’re so right. It’s like living the dream you had watching Saturday morning cartoons as a kid.
“Yes! That’s who you want to be; the cartoon on the screen. But, then you have to settle for being a live-action actor in a movie. In this case, you get to become a cartoon in a way. I love that. We’re going into a graphic novel; we’re going into the mind of Frank Miller. The sky isn’t perfect. It’s actually just pure black, and the snow is pure white. Isn’t that kind of what we’re all looking for when we go to the movies? We want to escape the real world into something that’s larger than that — something that’s more beautiful and darker.”
How was it going to Rodriguez’s spread in Austin, Texas to shoot?
“I was so inspired by it. Here’s a filmmaker who has decided to make his own world, his own industry, and do it his way. The fact that just outside of Austin is a space where he can shoot whatever he wants and do all the editing next door is wild. Movies are such mammoth tasks to take on that the division of post-production can become interruptive to a filmmaker’s process. Rodriguez has made it so his voice is never not in the process.”
Is that what makes his projects so uniquely Rodriguez?
“Yep! It’s so, so, so him. He manages to approach the medium of filmmaking the way an artist like Frank Miller is able to do by himself with his own writing and drawing tools. I really admired that and found it enormously inspiring.”
How was working with Christopher Lloyd? We haven’t seen him on the big screen in a while.
“I loved getting to see Christopher Lloyd do something dark. I actually worked with Christopher Lloyd a long time ago — 20something years ago, I think? He was the angel in Angels in the Outfield, so, this is kind of our reunion. [Laughs] You couldn’t really ask for a movie that was more diametrically opposed to Angels in the Outfield than Sin City. He’s sort of this junkie in dirty clothes, but he’s got this almost poetic, sad, self-talking soliloquy going on as he’s setting my bones with popsicle sticks. I’m like, man, this is Doc Brown! We should be talking about 1.2 gigawatts. [Laughs] But, it’s really cool ‘cause he’s a really strong actor, and he can do a lot of different things. It was really entertaining when he applied the energy he brought to a character like Doc Brown from Back to the Future, to the dark flavor of Frank Miller’s world."