09/14/2012 02:51 pm ET

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Talks Being The Young Bruce Willis On The Gavin Newsom Show (VIDEO)

Who would have predicted that Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the skinny kid with the long hair from "Third Rock From The Sun," would grow up to become a movie star?

In his new film Looper, Gordon-Levitt once again teams with Rian Johnson, the director of his post-sitcom era breakout high school noir film Brick, to play a younger version of action god Bruce Willis.


This week, JGL and Johnson stopped by California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom's Current TV chat show. (Newsom is taking a short break from his busy schedule of opening snarkily named wineries and demanding Attorney General Eric Holder investigate the mortgage industry's "threats" against a controversial plan by bankrupt San Bernadino county.

"The character I'm playing in Looper is not really a good guy," Gordon-Levitt told Newsom, explaining his acting technique. "He kills people for a living; he doesn't have any friends or family; he's a very sad, unfortunate soul. But you have to love your character like a mother loves her child, even if there's not a lot to admire about them. Everyone is themselves and if you're judging the charter from the outside you're not going to be able to play them with much authenticity."

In the sci-fi film, Gordon-Levitt plays an assassin hired by criminals from the future who send their targets back in time to be killed so they don't have to worry about getting caught. When he suddenly finds himself tasked with murdering the future version of himself, he balks and all hell suddenly breaks loose.

Newsom asked if Willis appreciated Gordon-Levitt's impression of him.

"[Bruce is] a very understated guy," the actor replied. "Not the type to butter you up, which is nice because he's always being honest. I did catch him once or twice giving me a second look, though. There was even one time where were doing a scene where we were yelling back and forth at each other and then in between takes he was like, very casually, 'you sound like me,' and walked away. I had an internal jumping up and down victory."

Either imitating Willis's facial expressions came naturally to the Inception star, or he was still practicing a bit of method acting during the interview.

Watch the video below, then check out the full interview with Joseph and director Rian Johnson, along with Khan Academy founder Salman Khan, this Friday at 11 p.m. PST / 2 a.m. ET.