Joseph Gordon-Levitt Didn’t Want To ‘Shock People’ With ‘Don Jon’

Austin, TX – Joseph Gordon-Levitt said that he’s done everything he can to maintain an R-rating for his directorial debut, Don Jon.

Speaking at SXSW 2013, Gordon-Levitt said that he has cut some of the graphic sex scenes from his film, and has even shortened the title from Don Jon’s Addictionto just Don Jon. Screening the film at the festival for the first time, Gordon-Levitt said that he made these changes to the film because he didn’t want people to think it was just a movie about sex or porn addiction.

“I called it Don Jon’s Addiction because there’s this central symbol in the movie of this rut and this habit that Jon is in,” said Gordon-Levitt. “It’s about a guy getting out of this rut, learning to be present and have more engaged and realistic relationships.”

The story is a twist on the classic tale of Don Juan, centering on a New Jersey lady’s man who actually prefers pornography to real sex (though he doesn’t exactly want for the real thing).

Despite the film’s heavily sexual content, Gordon-Levitt says that it’s a comedy story about “how men and women treat each other, and how the media we consume can create unrealistic expectations that we put on one another” on his Facebook.

“That was always the premise,” he said at SXSW Monday. “In my original script, there’s a note that says, `This is how we’re going to do this, we’re going to license real pornography clips and alter them such that they fit into an R-rated movie.’

“I never wanted to make something that was overly provocative, I never wanted to shock people,” Gordon-Levitt said. “I wanted this to be a pop movie, a mainstream movie.”

Brie Larson plays Gordon-Levitt’s sister in the film, and talked a bit about what attracted her to the project.

“Those are always my favorite films, the ones that leave people divided at the end because they’re raising questions, not giving you some sort of opinion,” she said.

Also in the film is Tony Danza, who acted alongside a pre-teen Gordon-Levitt in the film Angels in the Outfield. Danza had nothing but praise for Gordon-Levitt’s first outing as a director, saying that the film manages to tackle heavy issues, adding that “he’s done it in a way that makes you laugh. If there are any messages, they go down a lot easier because there’s a little sugar with the medicine.”

Are you looking forward to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon?