When the massive production caravan hauling "The Dark Knight Rises" descended upon lower Manhattan last month, there was speculation that the Batman epic's director, Christopher Nolan, would work to somehow incorporate the Occupy Wall Street protesters into his film. And while that didn't quite come to pass, one of the movie's stars decided to take a camera down to Zuccotti Park and explore the scene on his own.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's timing couldn't have been any better.
As it turned out, the 30-year old star found himself Tuesday in the thick of the volatile struggle between protestors and the New York Police Department, which raided the park earlier in the morning and cleaned out the nearly-two-month-old makeshift tent city. Gordon-Levitt ended up shooting about three hours worth of footage at the scene, he told The Huffington Post Tuesday night at the premiere of "50/50" co-star Bryce Dallas Howard's new short film for Canon’s “Project Imagin8ion”. Despite the fevered pitch at the protest sites, he was very encouraged by what he saw.
"I had a lot of long conversations with all sorts of people -- kids, older people, some cops -- I talked to some people who look really rebellious, I talked to some people who were wearing a suit," the star said. "I talked to all sorts of people and everyone's just feeling really positive and optimistic. They look around and they see people who are on the same page, and they're not going to just sit around and say, 'Oh, there's nothing I can do,' and it's reassuring, it's exciting."
He said he was moved in particular by the call and response public address system dubbed the people's mic by protesters. It was "beautiful to see," he said.
It's no surprise that the makeshift open platform appeals to Gordon-Levitt, who runs an online collaborative production company, HitRecord. Just getting the message out, he said, was a major improvement over his last round of First Amendment-flexing pavement pounding.
"You know, when I was like, in college say, I remember when in 2003, when the United States started bombing Iraq, and we marched in protest, and no one gave a fuck man. No one paid attention; no one wanted to talk about it," he remembered, growing animated. "Now, for various reasons, I guess because partially things have gotten so bad and I think partially because of the Occupy movement, it's become a topic of conversation and people are willing to talk about it."
Check out Gordon-Levitt's initial post about the experience on his website.