EW: How would you describe your character in (500) Days of Summer?
JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT: He’s a bit of a hopeless romantic who has taken perhaps a little bit too seriously pop songs and love stories. He has to figure some s— out and man up a little bit.
EW: You’ve never made a movie as outright romantic as (500) Days. Are you a fan of the standard romantic comedy?
JGL: Well, who is a fan of the standard romantic comedy? The vast majority of Hollywood love stories — let’s be honest, they’re full of s—. Love is not about winning and losing. Love is not about happy endings or good guys and bad guys. [At] most movie studios, the big decisions get made by accountants and lawyers. They don’t get made by artists.
EW: Is that why you’ve done so many independent dramas since 1999’s 10 Things I Hate About You?
JGL: I’ll stand up for 10 Things I Hate About You. I think that was a good movie. [Laughs] The A-R-T word is a complicated one. I shouldn’t have brought it up because you can sound pretentious calling things art. But when I make a movie, it’s because it inspires me. People always smirk when I say this, but when I saw the designs for the character that I play in G.I. Joe, it was like, ”Wow! How’d I get to be that guy?” That’s exciting to me.
EW: G.I. Joe, in which you play Cobra Commander, opens three weeks after (500) Days of Summer. Are you prepared for the amount of fame that could bring?
JGL: I don’t know. When I was younger, I used to hate that kind of recognition. I still kind of have a problem with the intersection of this word called ”celebrity” and acting. What makes it worth it for me is that people that saw (500) Days of Summer at Sundance have been coming up and saying, ”Wow, that really meant something to me.” So if you’re asking, ”Are you prepared for so many more people to connect with you in that way?” I want that connection. That’s a dream come true.