Every Monday until the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, EW is celebrating a great success story from independent film’s most prestigious showcase. So far, we’ve revisited Lee Daniel’s Precious , Courtney Hunt’s Frozen River, Greg Mottola’s Adventureland, Today, we look back at Don Jon, the 2013 film from Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The Sundance Film Festival is the place first-time directors aspire to go in order to be discovered. But sometimes, a rookie filmmaker arrives in Utah with a certain amount of fame already to his credit. Take Joseph Gordon-Levitt, for example, who premiered his first feature, then-titled Don Jon’s Addiction, at the 2013 festival. If his name wasn’t enough — as director and star — the movie also featured Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore; so even though it was “independent” in scale, it wasn’t exactly a make-or-break venture by some guy living out of his car.
But in other ways, Don Jon (as it was renamed for its theatrical release) was the epitome of what Sundance is all about. Gordon-Levitt, for all his success, is a Sundance kid. Not only did he launch his hitRECord website at the festival in 2010, but he played the boyhood version of Robert Redford’s narrator in A River Runs Through It. Since then, he’s been a major Sundance player, starring in festival movies like Mysterious Skin, Brick, and (500) Days of Summer. Throw in the film’s provocative subject matter — porn addiction — and Don Jon was as “Sundance” as any movie in recent memory.
In our clip from Sundance below, Gordon-Levitt and co-star Tony Danza discuss their characters and how media shape our obsessions.
Here’s the film’s trailer: