by Matt Stevens | Sun., Sep. 29, 2013 3:17 PM
A porn-obsessed guy falls for a woman who loves romantic Hollywood movies in Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut. JGL also plays the titular lothario, Jon Martello—"Don Jon" to his bros—a New Joisey gym rat who beds a different chick every weekend.
But for Jon, even the hottest hookup can't compare to watching and jerking to online porn. Then he becomes smitten with Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson), an old-fashioned gal he wants for "the long game," and he wrestles with his porn addiction and ultimate desire to find true intimacy.
Wanna get off on more Don Jon scoop? Come on, read on.
1. A Modern-Day Libertine: In addition to directing, JGL wrote the Don Jon screenplay, which is loosely based on the legendary character of Don Juan. A tragic figure, Don Juan never changes his womanizing ways and meets a literally hellish fate. But JGL wanted to find a more positive take. While shooting the cancer comedy 50/50, he was inspired by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's approach to the material and landed on the right tone for his script, with the humor coming more from the characters and less from gags.
2. Wooing the Ladies: JGL always had Johansson in mind for the role of Barbara. A fan of her performances in Lost in Translation and Vicki Christina Barcelona, he flew to Albuquerque to meet with her on The Avengers set before she read his script. Johansson soon signed on—as did Julianne Moore, who plays a fellow student in Jon's night class. Moore was reluctant to read the script, since she didn't want to do another movie about porn after Boogie Nights. But she too was impressed by JGL's writing.
3. Meet the Parents: Glenne Headley appears as Jon's doting ma, who just wants her son to find a nice girl. In a surprising bit of casting, Tony Danza plays Jon Sr., a working-class dad whose obsession with televised football mirrors his son's addiction to porn. This isn't the first time JGL has worked with the Taxi actor—when he was 12, he costarred with Danza in the Disney family film Angels in the Outfield. Hmm…Don Jon is a little different from that one.
4. Flaunting It, But Not Too Much: To bulk up for his beefy character, Joseph Gordon-Levitt spent the 6 months prior to production hitting the gym, working out 5 days a week. He also ate insane amounts of chicken and eventually packed on 12 pounds of muscle. Though he frequently shows off his torso and guns in the film, he never goes the full monty—and neither does Johansson. JGL thought their nudity would be too distracting in a comedy.
5. A Note to Guys: Don Jon probably isn't the greatest date movie, at least not for the first date—not just because your body probably doesn't measure up to JGL's pumped physique, but also because the story explicitly addresses men's predilection for porn and masturbation. While that's not exactly a news flash, it can make for uncomfortable viewing with a lady. On the other…uh…hand, your display of dewy-eyed sensitivity during the movie's climax and happy ending just might win her over. Fake it if you have to.
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