Zooey Deschanel & Joseph Gordon-Levitt Interview
Joe, can you relate to the guy in this movie, because we don’t often see a guy going through all this?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Yeah!
Zooey Deschanel: We do in real life, but we just don’t in the movies!
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Yeah, all of my friends and all of my neighbours actually.
Zooey Deschanel: Like, I know ten of these guys!
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: I think everybody whether you’re a guy or a girl, can relate to this character. We’ve all been there.
What music did you both listen to in the morning to prep for the day and to get you in the mood?
Zooey Deschanel: I would listen to a lot of music that would make me feel happy and make me feel easy going, I guess, because it was a character that has a lot of stuff going on. She leads a charmed life, so that was my way of preparing.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: We listened to Stubborn kind of Fellow. We listened to that a lot. That was our song.
Zooey Deschanel: And I listened to Marianne Faithfull=2 0a lot. I liked her version of As Tears Go By.
This was a very different role for you, how did you feel about playing a character like this?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: I was delighted to do it. I guess you are comparing it to some of the more dramatic stuff I’ve done recently, well, I think that is a big part why this movie is so funny is that it’s genuine. And it’s not kind of shallow surface level gags, but the humour is emotional and I wanted to bring the same emotional truth to this movie as I brought to some of the more ‘dramatic’ movies that I’ve made recently.
The director (Marc Webber) said you were just a natural when it came to the dancing!
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: (Laughs) I was really into it. Well, that’s kind of him to say so.
How did you feel when they asked you to play someone who’s a bit of a troublemaker in this film?
Zooey Deschanel: Very flattered! To be honest, it’s the not the way I would think of myself. But if they had picked one of those girls, you know one of those beauty girls…there are actresses who everything thinks: “Oh my God, she’s just so amazingly beautiful,” and that’s their sort of thing, I don’t think that would have worked. Because this is partially romanticizing a little bit of quirkiness, I guess, which I feel is one of the interesting things about the movie. But yes, I was certainly flattered that Marc thought of me for this.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: And you’re as beautiful as anyone.
She was quirky, but do you think guys prefer a woman where there is something a bit ‘off’ about her?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: I don’t think you can generalize guys. Some guys are scared of an individually unique woman. I’m more attracted to someone I can talk to, I mean if there’s nothing to talk about, it’s hard to get turned on.
This is why this movie was so real, because it’s two real people having a real conversation.
Zooey Deschanel: Right. That was what we were trying to do.
You two had great chemistry on set. Did you find that out when you started working together?
Zooey Deschanel: We’ve been friends for ten years. We did a movie together ten years ago.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: It’s called Manic and it’s kind of oppos ite to the Leo and Kate thing. It was a really serious movie and so different to this breezy one. Manic is kinda like Titanic with that Revolutionary Road kind of feel, but this is our Titanic.
Zooey Deschanel: So, it’s easy because we are friends and I have great respect and admiration for Joe. He’s cool, so that helps.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: It makes it so much easier to be doing scenes like this in a play relationship like this with someone who I am friends with and whom I trust and who I admire.
Zooey Deschanel: Ahh, so nice to meet you!
There was a lot of the colour blue in the movie. Did you find that you were playing someone in a world she doesn’t really have any control over?
Zooey Deschanel: They wanted me to stand out in the movie. To have a colour that was only used once. It was used in the dance sequence, because everyone reminds him of Summer. But no- one else was allowed to wear blue. If I wasn’t wearing a lot of blue, there would be a big blue thing, like I’d be right next to tons of blue wallpaper or a big blue poster. There would be something giant and blue somewhere in the shot! It was a cool cinematic thing. It was Marc’s idea.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: I think it speaks the strength of Marc. Not only is he super technically savvy to be doing something with colour like that, but he also knows how to tell stories and how to work with actors. Most people who are as good at crafting a scene of dialogue as Marc is wouldn’t necessarily know how to do something so sophisticated like that with colour.
Did you both enjoy the karaoke scenes? They were hilarious.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Thank you.
Do you enjoy karaoke?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Sometimes.
Zooey Deschanel: I’ve done karaoke with you before. Joe got kicked out of somewhere before.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Because I rocked too hard!
Zooey Deschanel: He wasn’t drunk or anything, he just got so into the song like he was pulling down the curtains.
What were you singing?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: A Black Crowes20song.
Zooey Deschanel: So he was pulling down the curtain and the guy who put the karaoke night on every week was like: “What’s going on? I’m sorry sir, you have to go!” He got kicked out of the place.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: He forbade me to unleash anymore of the rock.
Zooey Deschanel: The stage was just too small for you.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: That’s what it was, I need to be able to run around.
Zooey Deschanel: He needs some props! You need a bird to bite the head off!
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: I need some broken glass to shred my skin.
You seem to be singing in every film you do now, is that a requirement in your contract?
Zooey Deschanel: I try to avoid it. I’m very skeptical of it, because it’s like happened a lot of times….”wouldn’t it be cool if you could sing……” They always feel they need to figure out an opportunity for me to sing. You really don’t. Unless it’s like a musical because it gets complicated as you have to sing in character, and somebody has something to say about how you sing. But for Summer, it was just karaoke.
The same can be said for Joe who got punched in the face.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: I know how to sell a good punch, what can I say?
Zooey Deschanel: That’s right, you do get a lot of punches in a movie.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: It’s true. I always get punched in the face, I like it. It’s actually the only time I’ve ever been punched in the face in my life was doing a scene. I don’t engage in fights in general. I avoid them, but yeah, it’s the only time I’ve been hit.
In the film, the girl is a realist and we usually see movies where the girl is waiting for her knight in shining armour. This is a role reversal because the guy thinks it’s the one, and you are more the realist. Do you think that is more accurate in a way?
Zooey Deschanel: I don’t think it has anything to do with gender. We’ve been talking about this a lot because people have said that, but I think with our generation, those gender roles aren’t something that really can apply anymore. There are a lot of guys who get heartbroken and there are lots of girls who are cynical about it. I just find that people tend to go between one extreme or the other. There is no practicality about love because love and marriage being lasting is not necessary. So what’s keeping people together is the question. Love is not necessary like it was done in generations prior where you got married because you had to start a family. Those were the rules and society was very much a part in enforcing those rules. That doesn’t apply anymore to what keeps people together and that is the question. I think one thing that this movie says about love is that just because something doesn’t last, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. You will discover things about yourself if you’re being romantic even if it doesn’t last.
Do you believe in romance? Do you believe in love at first sight?
Zooey Deschanel: I believe everything is out there! It just depends on your point of view.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Anything you can think of is true.
Zooey Deschanel: In some way, it exists in thought form. If it has a name, than you are creating it.
Are you a romantic person? Do you think it’s out there?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: I do, but I think that certain clichés like that – love at first sight – are dangerous because then you are letting someone else define it for you. And you have to make it for yourself. You have to figure it out for yourself and you have to know that love for you is definitive. If it’s real love it’s going to be unlike anyone else has ever felt before, so their descriptions of it – you can take what you want and leave the rest. But it’s never going to be summed up in someone else’s line, like love at first sight.
So you have to experience it for yourself?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Yes.
(500) Days of Summer is in Cinemas TODAY.