Joseph Gordon-Levitt's 'Don Jon': Tony Danza, Julianne Moore Praise Star's Directorial Skills

Hilary Lewis
The Hollywood Reporter
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's 'Don Jon': Tony Danza, Julianne Moore Praise Star's Directorial Skills

A violent thunderstorm attracted a lot of attention at the New York premiere of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Don Jon on Thursday night, with the extreme weather starting just as the stars were arriving at the School of Visual Arts Theatre in Manhattan.

But while the storm was raging -- with torrential rain, thunder, lightning and a gust of wind that nearly brought down the red carpet's backdrop as Julianne Moore walked by -- Gordon-Levitt was cultivating his now multi-faceted film career.

The former child star does triple duty in his upcoming film, Don Jon, about a man addicted to porn who's trying to manage being in a real relationship, which he wrote, directed and stars in. Gordon-Levitt told The Hollywood Reporter that he always thought he'd be intensely involved in the project.

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"When I was coming up with the story, I was always thinking, it would be cool to shoot this part like this or it would be cool if the music did this right here, so I always envisioned putting all the pieces together," he said.

Co-star Jeremy Luke says Gordon-Levitt's years as an actor helped him with his directorial debut, in which the cast members rehearsed and marked out scenes before shooting.

Gordon-Levitt even reunited with his former Angels in the Outfield co-star Tony Danza, who plays his father in Don Jon.

Danza gave his younger colleague high praise for his work as a director. "He creates an atmosphere on the set that's very, very comfortable and secure so you're not worried about exposing yourself and he gives you a real good idea about what he wants, and yet, he's very flexible that you may have something to add to it," the former Who's the Boss? star told THR.

VIDEO: 'Don Jon' Trailer

Moore, who plays an older love interest for Gordon-Levitt's character, added: "He was so prepared, very, very prepared and really assured. He really knew what he wanted to communicate and how he wanted to communicate it."

Gordon-Levitt, meanwhile, praised Relativity Media, which bought the film at Sundance for roughly $4 million, for believing in his movie and vision.

"There's a risk to this movie. It doesn't fit into a standard formula," he explained. "It's hard to come up with a lot of examples of, 'Well this movie is just like these three other movies that came out in the last three years that made a ton of money,' and they believe in it anyway and I believe in it too. They haven't made me change anything about the movie. They've just been completely supportive of what it is and I give them a lot of credit."

He said the same was true of the movie's initial backer, Voltage Pictures, which previously financed The Hurt Locker.

"I give a lot of credit to Voltage for just trusting me. It was me and [co-star] Scarlett [Johansson] and a script and they gave us enough of a budget and then they left us alone," he said.

Relativity president Tucker Tooley also said they largely left the film alone, apart from changing the opening title and credit sequences and making necessary MPAA edits, which one might expect with a movie that, understandably, contains a lot of porn.


Just six years ago, Relativity was likely best known for co-financing big-budget movies for Universal and Sony, and it's now a multi-faceted entertainment company, with film, TV, music, sports and fashion-representation divisions, which are all part of a larger vision, Tooley said.

"They may seem like disparate parts but they're actually part of a larger, strategic growth plan where we can really harness the fashion side, the television side, the sports side, the movies side for content," he said. "There's a lot of different distribution now, and our view of the future is we want to create great content."

But Tooley still had kind words for Relativity's former partners at Universal: Ron Meyer, Adam Fogelson and Donna Langley, whose jobs all changed this week in a shocking shake-up.

"I'm sorry to see Adam not be there, but from an outsider's perspective, it is what it is, and I certainly think it's good that Ron's going to continue on and stay there. Donna's fantastic, and I wish them all the luck," he said.