Scarlett Johansson admits when it comes to relationships, she can identify with Barbara, the romance-movie loving young New Jersey woman she plays in Don Jon.
"We all are guilty of holding our partner or our imaginary partner up to these standards that are sort of impossible to fulfill," she told me while promoting the film, about a womanizing porn addict looking for love, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (think The Situation!)
"It would be much easier if the people we fell in love with behaved the we wanted them to," Johansson said. "I've learned over time that what makes life interesting, relationships interesting, are the complexities of relationships and people and the fact that we can become more evolved ourselves if we are forced to compromise and accept the differences amongst one another."
Gordon-Levitt said, "That's why you have to toss your standards out the window. It's hard to do. They're so tempting, those standards."
Gordon-Levitt not only stars as the title character, but Don Jon (in theaters Sept. 27) also marks his big-screen writing and directorial debut. "I wanted to talk about how we treat each other sometimes more like things than people and how different kinds of media can contribute to that," he said.
And how it can contribute to "setting yourself up for disappointment," Gordon-Levitt added. "I thought telling the story of a young man who is addicted to pornography going out with a woman who watches too many romantic Hollywood movies would be a funny way of asking some of these questions."
Questions aside, Don Jon is incredibly funny. Especially a scene where Gordon-Levitt and Johansson get hot and heavy without ever having to take their clothes off.
"It's very technical that scene," Johansson said. "It's like, 'I'm going to put my hand on your ass here and then you're going to flip around and you're going to grab the back of head and I'm going to pull back.' Literally it was like that. It was like performing a stunt. Then you look around and there are like 65 guys eating pastrami sandwiches. It takes the magic out of the moment a little bit."