Sundance Interview: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Julianne Moore & Tony Danza Talk Porn & The Sexy 'Don Jon's Addiction'


Porn. Masturbation. Scarlett Johansson acting sexier than ever. A pot-smoking Julianne MooreTony Fucking Danza. Sex. Sex. Sex. Everything you’ve always wanted in the directorial debut of Boy Wonder Joseph Gordon-Levitt is here, and it’s called “Don Jon’s Addiction.”

The film tells the story of himbo Don Jon (Gordon-Levitt in the titular role), who only cares about a small number of things in his life: his body, his pad, his ride (classic SS Camaro), his bros, going to church (seriously), fucking as many women as he can, and most importantly, masturbating to porn roughly 15-20 times a week. Yeah, it gets weird. But it’s also sexy, hilarious, and awesome. Read our review of the movie here.

The film premiered for the world just a few days ago at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, was quickly picked up by Relativity Media for a summer release and shortly after, we sat down with Gordon-Levitt, Moore, and Danza to talk about the film. And porn. We definitely talked about porn.


Hey, what’s up man? 

Chase Whale! Good to see you, man!

Good to see you too! 

You guys are..the website is…is the website Gordon and Whale no longer? 

Yeah, I shut that down last August. 

Right on. 

So now I’m writing for Twitch and freelancing.

Cool! Well, I liked that website. 

Thank you very much! I did too. But, finances were getting less and less.

Onwards and upwards. 

Yeah, so on to better things. But it was fun while it lasted. 

Yeah, right on. You guys were one of the first supporters of hitRECord. Maybe the first movie blogs that was like, “This is a cool thing this guy is doing!” I really appreciated that. 

Oh wow, that’s awesome! Thank you for saying that….

You worked with some of the greatest directors in the world last year. What were some of the biggest takeaways from the ways those guys worked going into directing your first feature?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Great question. Getting the chance to work with and watch Rian [Johnson] and Chris [Nolan] and Steven [Spielberg] all in one year was a big part of why I felt encouraged to go try. One thing I could say that I noticed that all three of those guys had in common, and they’re all three very different filmmakers, but they all have a great sense of balancing their vision, that they’ve done their homework for, and [being ready for] spontaneous things that arrive on the day.

Julianne Moore: That’s a hard thing to do.

JGL: It is, and that I think is right at the crux of what makes a good director: is knowing when to stick to what you thought it was going to be and when to go with what it’s now sort of coming to be. Rian and Chris and Steven are all really good at that, and it was something I sort of cheated on and kept in mind a lot while I was directing. Oftentimes it would be like, “This is one of those moments! I’m being asked right now if we’re going to do it the way I thought we were going to do it or if we’re going to try something new. All right.” Those are the decisions that I think make up a lot of what a director does.

The film focuses on a man addicted to masturbating to porn. What made you want to tell such a gutsy and risky story for your first directorial feature?
JGL : I mean, I’ll tell you how I got to that subject matter. But…I knew that if I was going to make a movie and be in charge then I wanted to do something that I couldn’t do otherwise. You know? I wanted to do something that would probably have not happened if I wasn’t making it happen. So, you know I made a short film that played here at Sundance called “Sparks,” which I really like and I’m really proud of it. It’s an adaptation of an Elmore Leonardshort story and while I think it’s really good, it wasn’t something that could not have happened without me. You know what I mean? If that makes sense.

Tony Danza: [It was] more conventional.

JGL: It was more conventional. I mean, Elmore Leonard is a genre writer that is arguably the best at that crime genre. But I knew if I was going to write and direct a movie I wanted to really try something, and I wanted to try to make a love story. What I’ve noticed about love is what’s always getting in the way — people objectifying each other. Putting expectations on each other that they’ve learned from various places. Whether it’s their family or from friends or from their church or from the media. So I thought a love story about a relationship between a guy who watches too much porn and girl who watches too many romantic Hollywood movies would really bring that theme out. And that was the beginning of it.

TD: You have to wonder what’s harder on relationships, right? Is it the romantic ideal? Or was it the pornography?

JGL: I think it’s really…

TD: Too close to call? [laughing]

How grueling was it watching hours of porn footage to get the right scenes to use for the film?
JGL: It was a grueling process and not as exciting as it sounds [laughing]. Porn can get pretty gross, especially if you watch a lot of it. We were very careful about picking just the right moments, just the right videos, and cropping them just the right way so that it feels like you’re seeing more than you’re actually seeing. You don’t technically see anything that’s not allowed in a rated R movie.

Julianne, you’ve taken some daring roles in your career with up-and-coming directors. How do you decide when it’s just daring enough for you to take?
JM: Oh, that’s a good question! I like that. You know, first-time directors are generally writer-directors, and that’s initially how I make my decision. Because I feel if somebody is able to articulate their vision in the script they’re going to be able to articulate it to me on set as a director and through their shots. It’s been important to me in my career that I have people who are able to do that, and Joseph has been my most successful collaboration.

But, in answer to your question, something just being daring just for being daring is not simply effective. That’s not what I’m looking for — I’m looking for something that is emotionally resonating. And in this case I was reading the script and my character shows up and I had an expectation of what she was going to be and it completely confounded my expectations, and I was really touched by it and surprised. I was like, hey! That was actually a different way. The fact that she is someone who is so unbelievably private and committed to being authentic and unable to be inaunthentic was really, really interesting.


Tony, what’s it like watching Joe grow from a little boy in “Angels In The Outfield” to a leading man who is now a director?
TD: Well, I really loved it when we first met. I felt this certain paternal thing with Joe on “Angels In The Outfield.” So even though we may not see each other I keep my eye on him and it’s just been an amazing evolution, and it’s not surprising I have to tell you. Because even then you could tell he was watching everybody, he was interested in the craft of it right from the beginning. It wasn’t about the superficial stuff it was about the work even then. So I’m not surprised. I am surprised about how good the movie is. [JGL laughs] I’m not kidding! Not that I didn’t think you were going to make a great movie.

JGL: Well I’m glad to hear it.

TD: I just thought that the movie played like gangbusters last night. It’s so sexy! And it’s so like, right there! You know you feel it. And by the way it’s an old story. It’s the same old story we’ve been telling only it uses this device that I think is so prevalent and so problematic in our society.

Absolutely. So talking about your character, what was the best part about playing such a heartless bastard?
TD: Well you get to do something that is totally against type. One of the things that Joe constantly told me was “No, I still like you! I still like you. I want you to get madder.” [they laugh]

JGL: Well and he’s so lovable! Every time you see Tony on screen you just can’t help but smile. So I wanted to…

TD: Break the spell of that….So I think that was the fun of it, was to try see if you could do that without making a caricature out of it. I grew up in a family where if they weren’t yelling, they didn’t care. So that was my favorite archetype.

Joe, you’re kind of a veteran now at Sundance. You’ve acted in films that premieried here and it’s your third year here in collaboration with hitRECord. What’s it like to have the film you directed premier here?
JGL: It’s deeply meaningful. I feel like Sundance is more than just a festival, it’s even more than the institute. It’s a community. I think what Mr. Redford created here is invaluable to people who love movies, in this country especially. Without this community here to encourage each other and let each other know that it’s okay you don’t have to only chase box office, there’s more to movies than that. Sundance is really the epicenter of that sentiment in this country. That’s always resonated with me because I just love movies and love acting and love making things. I would do it whether I was making money doing it or not. And that’s, I think, what people are about here and that’s why I feel so connected to it and why it means so much to have such a great reception for the movie here, especially in Sundance in particular.

"Don Jon’s Addiction" will be released sometime later this summer.

Sundance 2013 Review: DON JON'S ADDICTION Bulks Up the Body and Career of Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Warning: the words “cock,” “cum,” and “masturbation” are used in this review. With that out of the way, let’s get filthy.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is constantly on the move, making new projects with his online art collaboration company,, and working as an A-list actor with some of Hollywood’s most prolific directors. The Boy Wonder has now taken his career in a gutsy new direction: writing, directing, and starring in a movie called Don Jon’s Addiction, about a rico suave obsessed with porn. 
And not just your Average Joe (hehe) who likes porn - this guy lusts for porn and watches it while in class, driving, and after having sex with a woman you and I would never ever get a second glance from. He’s so unsatisfied with the sex he’s having with these unreachable-to-the-average-guy women that he sneaks into his living room when they’re asleep and pounds one out to some X-rated goodness before slipping back into bed with them. To him, perfect sex is what a the porn classics show: throat-fucking, ass-spanking, spitting, anal-licking - the whole nine yards. Yeah, it gets weird, but Don Jon’s Addiction is slick, sexy, and hilarious.
When we first meet Don Jon (Gordon-Levitt), he’s masturbating to porn he found on the Internet. Nothing unusual for a typical male. But this guy really wants to satisfy his rabid curiosity about pornography. His masturbation is like a celebration: He sits there naked, watching clip after clip, and never touches his cock until the right one mentally and physically arouses him. And when that happens, he hits the highest euphoria he could ever possibly reach, then tosses the cum-filled tissue into the trashcan. Then repeats. He does this roughly 10-15 times a week. There’s nothing else he’s this passionate about.  
In his public lifestyle, he hangs out with his fellow guido bros who call him “The Mighty Don” because he can take home any girl in the club he wants just by giving her a glance. But, as fate should have it, he meets one who shoots him down, which fucks with his world and masturbation schedule. Her name is Barbara (Scarlett Johansson, in her most bombshell appearance) and she’s not looking for a one night stand - she’s a princess looking for Prince Charming. Since he’s a himbo with not a lot of common sense or concern for anyone’s well-being but his own, he challenges himself to do the unthinkable in the hope of sticking his man part into her woman part: be a gentleman. This means taking her to the movies, pretending to listen to her talk mumbo jumbo, and picking out new curtains for her home. It’s really, really fucking up his masturbation schedule. 
Despite being shockingly graphic (there’s more clips of real porn shown in in this film than a porn itself), Don Jon’s Addiction works on many levels. It’s cheeky, self-mocking, and filled with ridiculously hilarious cameos from today’s biggest stars. Everyone in this film is in on the joke. And while there’s some serious content tackled here, the film focuses on the self-mocking side of addiction, and takes more of a flirtatious look on the issue. For example: Don Jon and his family are devout Catholics. When he goes in for confession, he uses the number of Hail Marys he must do for penance and matches it to his workout routine.This is probably why Don Jon is so ripped - his constant masturbation and sex out-of-wedlock racks up the Hail Marys.
Don Jon’s Addiction is filled with a lot of masturbation, pornography, and the wholesome,  sweet Joseph Gordon-Levitt as he’s never been seen before. He’s all muscled up, acts like a Jersey Shore meathead, and only has one thing on his mind: the next time he’s going to jerk off. The boy you once saw in Angels in the Outfield sat this one out. The JGL we get here is filthy and awesome. This is where I applaud Levitt. He’s the nice next door neighbor, has kept his private life quiet, and is known to be one of the sweetest guys on this planet, but risks his wholesome reputation to try something brash and possibly unwatchable for some of his fans. He does pretend to be masturbating a lot, so that should stimulate the ones who lust for him.  
Buried underneath the cum-filled tissues and talk of blowjobs and X-rated movies is a damn good story about reality versus fantasy. The more a man gets involved with watching pornography, the more skewed his mind will be on how real sex is supposed to be like. It shows how addiction and obsession can and will start to corrupt everyday life. 
Besides Gordon-Levitt dominating every scene he’s in, there are two other great stand outs. Tony Danza returns to the big screen, bossier than ever as Don’s father, the older version of Don Jon. He talks like a sailor and gawks at Don Jon’s girlfriend when he brings her home. The only good quality about him is that he’ll someday die. 
The film really picks up its sweet side when Julianne Moore begins her screen time. At first she seems to be an irritating cretin in Don Jon’s life, but she just might be the loose cannon he needs to regulate his irregular lifestyle. It goes without saying, Moore is a marvelous actress and this role is just another reason to love her. 
It’s clear Gordon-Levitt has jotted down notes from all the directors he’s worked with over the years, and his admiration for thoughtful mise-en-scéne really comes through in key moments in the film. Whenever we see Barbara, she’s well-lit at all times, evoking Hitchcock’s masterful use of lighting on Kim Novak in Vertigo. And there are moments when the score flares up and the camera spins in circles around its two leads as they kiss, feeling like a romantic scene from a 1940s American classic, but more erotic than James Stewart could possibly imagine. Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes It’s a Wonderful Life look like Tits a Wonderful Life. Brilliant, gutsy, and fantastic. 
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