Why are we so thankful for Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel in 2009? Simple. The duo redefined the “cute couple” with their cool characters in “(500) Days of Summer.” They almost made us forget about all the generic rom-coms and recycled relationship tropes regurgitated onto movie screens over the past year. We salute them for their originality, their willingness to take risks and their joyful, affecting, truthful portrait of love and loss.
Recently, Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel stopped by the MTV News offices to chat about their on- and off-screen bond, their other successful projects this year and what we can look forward to from them in the future — including a possible reunion on the big screen.
MTV: You guys are here for a special reason today. We’re taking a look back at the things we’re thankful for this year, and thanks to your work individually and in “(500) Days of Summer,” you are two of the people we are most thankful for. Do you have a speech prepared?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Uh, no. Should I?
Zooey Deschanel: I knew to have a speech! No, I didn’t. I’m excited though.
MTV: This isn’t the first blush with success for either of you, but does 2009 feel like a particularly special year?
Gordon-Levitt: I think so. 2009 started at Sundance for me. “(500) Days of Summer” premiered there, and that was the first time everybody saw it. And a short film I made called “Sparks” played at Sundance, and then Barack Obama became president, which was one of the more cathartic, emotionally reinforcing, positive experiences I’ve really ever had. It feels like a special year.
Deschanel: It’s a very special year. It’s the end of the aughts, which is sad.
Gordon-Levitt: The end of the aughts! Thank you, I’ve been looking for the name of this decade, and I haven’t known what it was.
MTV: So, for you especially, Zooey, the aughts were essentially the decade when you came of age as an actress, when you essentially got started. Is it bittersweet to see your first decade as an actress come to an end?
Deschanel: It’s exciting. I have to say, Sundance 2001, Joe and I had to be there with “Manic.” I’ve been so lucky to work with Joe twice. Book-ending the aughts. And hopefully, it will be more frequent.
Gordon-Levitt: Into the teens. And the ’20s.
Deschanel: And the ’20s and the ’30s and ’40s and the ’50s. And we’ll live to a million by that point, because they’ll have all kinds of drugs to keep us alive.
Gordon-Levitt: Of course, because we’ll be cyborgs.
MTV: What did you two make of each other — be honest — because you’re getting along now, but when you first met each other, was there something there? Did you not know what to make of this guy or vice versa?
Deschanel: I just thought he was so cool. He was so cool and such a great actor. So intense. Very different — a different sort of role in our first movie together than you and I were playing in [“(500 Days”].
Gordon-Levitt: You have to understand the context of when we met, it wasn’t for “(500) Days of Summer,” it was for “Manic,” which we did almost 10 years ago, and we shot it on really cheap cameras. And it was this really heavy drama, and I was playing this guy that was …
Deschanel: … tortured …
Gordon-Levitt: … so angry that he would beat people up, and she was this oasis of warmth and love and melted my heart right away.
MTV: You’ve done it twice now — could there be a third movie for you guys? If you could write the script here and now, what kind of genre, what kind of film would you like collaborate on?
Deschanel: Screwball comedy.
Gordon-Levitt: Yeah, something fast!
Deschanel: Something snappy. Something funny. Something with some musical elements.
Gordon-Levitt: I think there might be some music. There might be some dance in there. Some songs.
MTV: I also want to talk about some individual accomplishments. “G.I. Joe” was actually massively entertaining.
Gordon-Levitt: I thought so too. I loved it the whole time. I had fun doing it. I got to wear a mask and makeup, and it was a really fun action movie.
MTV: Can you envision doing a second one?
Gordon-Levitt: I don’t know. That’s certainly not up to me.
MTV: Zooey, you got married this year to Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard . Was the wedding everything you hoped it would be? Does it feel different now?
Deschanel: It was amazing. Now it just feels better. Similar but better.
MTV: What can we look forward to from you in 2010? I know you did “Your Highness” with Danny McBride, Natalie Portman and James Franco.
Deschanel: I think it’s coming out in September or October. It’s totally bonkers. And then I have a new [She & Him] record coming out in the spring. It’s official. It’s done and being released in the spring. And we’re going to go on tour.
Gordon-Levitt: I am She & Him’s number one fan. I am possessive about that slot, actually.
MTV: Joe, you have “Inception” coming up. Having completed the shoot, did it live up to everything you hoped it would? What can I expect?
Gordon-Levitt: Are you a fan of Christopher Nolan, who wrote and directed “The Dark Knight,” among other things? This is what happened. Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite artists, and he’s a true dignified filmmaker with all the integrity of an indie filmmaker. He started with indie films like “Memento.” And then he directed one of the biggest hits of all time. Now he can say, “I’m going to do whatever I want to do and you, Warner Brothers, are going to let me do it.” [“Inception”] is an awesome artist who just got to do exactly what he wanted to do, and it’s a beautiful thing to see.
Thanksgiving is a time for taking stock, expressing gratitude and, most importantly, overeating. We at MTV News have been gorging all year at movie theaters, so it’s about time we looked back and gave thanks to our favorite actors and filmmakers of 2009. So in this special week, we celebrate [news id=”1626820″]J.J. Abrams and Chris Pine[/news] for bringing “Star Trek” back into our lives; [news id=”1626914″]Tom Hardy[/news] for such an unexpectedly powerful turn in “Bronson”; [news id=”1626945″]Quentin Tarantino[/news] for blowing our minds with his ” Inglourious Basterds”; [news id=”1627015″]Sam Rockwell[/news] for the amazingly inventive indie “Moon”; Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel for redefining how cool and cute a couple could be in “(500) Days of Summer”; and our ultimate winner, [news id=”1627058″]Ryan Reynolds[/news], for a trio of memorable roles in vastly different (but all super entertaining) flicks like “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” “The Proposal” and “Adventureland”. Enjoy our exclusive interviews with all our winners all week long.
Check out everything we’ve got on “(500) Days of Summer.”
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