Joseph Gordon-Levitt's New Skin Flick

The Looper star chooses flesh over fantasy in his directorial debut

Usually, Joseph Gordon-Levitt doesn't like to say what he thinks a movie is or isn't about, though he's been in plenty — Inception , The Dark Knight Rises , Lincoln , Looper — that might prompt questions. This time is an exception: for his feature debut as a writer and director, he did not make a movie about pornography. He did, however, make a movie that required him to watch a lot of it.

In the satire Don Jon , released Sept. 27, he plays Jon, a New Jerseyan whose online porn habits derail his off-line life. This year, Sundance Film Festival was dubbed Porndance because of the prevalence of movies about the seedier side of cinema, and Don Jon made a splash with a multimillion-dollar distribution deal. Yet focusing on flesh misses the point, says the filmmaker. His goal, cloaked in sex and comedy, was to talk about how fiction seduces consumers into lusting after ideals rather than human beings.

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!