Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes his directorial debut with Don Jon, and stars as a porn obsessed guy whose life is turned upside down by Scarlett Johansson.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been a familiar face since he was a little kid guest-starring on shows like Roseanne and 3rd Rock From the Sun, but now the actor extends his talents to screenwriter and director in his new movie, Don Jon.

The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and has been sparking conversations everywhere not only for Gordon-Levitt’s impressive talents, but also for the film’s quirky story.

Don Jon tells the story of Jon Martello Jr. (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), an unsentimental Jersey guy whose world consist of his car, the gym, one night stands and internet porn. When he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), a sassy, romantic Jersey girl, she challenges his entire idea of love and romance.

Despite his recent acting-heavy resume, including Inception, The Dark Knight Rises and Looper, Gordon-Levitt approached his directorial debut with enthusiasm.

“I’ve always really loved every part of the process and, yeah, even when I was a kid I’d be on set and just fascinated with what everybody was doing,” he told the Canadian Press. “I’ve always been just interested in all the different parts that go into making a movie. Certainly the acting, I’ve always loved the acting — I still do and I always will. But I’m also really interested in what the camera’s doing or how you edit a movie or what the music does. And so getting to direct a movie I got to play with all of those toys.”

Porn features heavily in the movie’s plot since it is implied that it’s Jon’s obsession with internet porn that makes him so emotionally detached and unable to consider feelings outside of lust. Though the graphic images may shock some viewers, Gordon-Levitt points out that it’s not just porn that shapes the opinions and attitudes of people like Jon.

“Whether it’s pornography or plenty of other images that are in mainstream culture, it’s kind of the same experience,” Gordon-Levitt explained. “There’s lots of commercials, especially commercials, or lots of TV shows or movies or whatever that take people — and especially women — and reduce them to a sexual object.”

Co-star Scarlett Johansson revealed her earlier introduction to sexuality in the form of chat show called The Robin Byrd Show. “It was this kind of like, public access show and it was sort of  a soft-core thing,” she told CP. “I remember being a kid and like channel surfing, and being totally just thrilled to no end that I could see whatever was behind the kind of bad, public-access show.”


Don Jon opens in theatres on September 27 and also stars Tony Danza and Julianne Moore.


—Sarah Khan

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