In the new movie Looper, two actors portray the same character. Both Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (JGL) star as a hired gun named Joe. Willis plays the character late in life while JGL plays the younger version, who is forced to confront his future self. We see the character in both stages of his life in multiple time periods.
When we see the older Joe, we glimpse him with a beautiful woman- and pivotal character- who ultimately changes his life. That character is played by Chinese actress Summer Qing.
In an e-mail interview, Qing responded to some of my questions about the new sci-fi thriller. In her responses, Qing told me why audiences should see this movie, what attracted her to the project and the greatest misconception people have about action star Bruce Willis.
‘Looper’ is a unique type of science fiction drama. What attracted you to the project in the first place?
Qing: First and most importantly, the script is great. The story is like nothing I’ve seen before, and the setting of China in the future: brilliant! Plus, we have the most excellent and creative cast and crew in the business, including Rian, Bruce, Joseph and Emily. It was such a pleasue [sic] to work with such a great team. Besides, I would be playing Bruce Willis’ wife. Come on! This is Bruce Willis we are talking about!
What was it like working with Bruce Willis and what do you think is the biggest misconception about him as an actor?
Qing: I had such a great experience working with Bruce Willis. The first day I arrived on the set, he came to me, pulled me into his arms, and gave me a big long hug. He didn’t say a word but that said more than enough. We were like an old couple finally reunited, ready to take on another adventure in life.
There is a scene in which we have an emotional conversation in a car. When they were shooting my part, Bruce was off camera to read his lines. Like the superstar he is, he didn’t have to do that himself, but he did anyway. On top of that, he cared about everyone on the set. I really respect him for that, professionally and personally.
As for the biggest misconception, that’s easy: Everyone in the whole universe knows Bruce Willis is one big tough guy. However, in real life, he speaks very slowly and softly. He takes care of people around him, a true gentleman.
In the movie, you are a character who saves her husband’s life when he is struggling with drug addiction. What in your career has been the toughest obstacle you’ve encountered and how did you overcome it?
Qing: After so many years of playing the good girls and the perfect woman-type of characters, I find people have a certain set image of what kind of roles I should be playing, which in a way sets limitations for me. Currently, I’d love to try something different, to play a bad girl or even a villain. For instance, “the Joker” (by Heath Ledger) in The Dark Knight, or the Witch from Dark Shadows (by Eva Green), or the girl in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (by Rooney Mara). It isn’t easy for me. Most producers/directors still come to me with the perfect woman kind of roles. As a matter of fact, I think Hollywood has more to offer for what I want. Hopefully, I can work with Rian Johnson again in the near future.
In the film, people from the future are sent back into the past to tie up loose ends. If you had the chance to go back and change something about your past, what would it be and why?
Qing: I would probably tell myself to study English harder and learn to speak like a native speaker. At this point of my career and life, I learned the importance of mastering English.
If a person on the street asked you to tell them why they should see this movie in one sentence, what would you say?
Qing: Looper is the Matrix of this decade. You don’t want to miss out.
Looper is in theaters now.