Of all the wackadoodle imagery in "Inception" — city streets folding in on themselves, architecture that calls to mind M.C. Escher, flameless explosions that go pop-pop-pop around the actors — one scene above all else will have audiences leaving the theater going: "How the heck did they do that?"
The scene in question is a hallway fight between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a nameless bad guy. The twist is that the brawl takes place in a dream within a dream, where Gordon-Levitt and his team have traveled with an assist from a machine that lets them infiltrate another person's subconscious. For reasons that are far too complex and spoiler-filled to explain here, the two men end up grappling in zero gravity as the hallway rotates and they flop this way and that.
"Gravity goes all dreamy," Gordon-Levitt told MTV News.
It's an amazing spectacle to take in on the big screen — "The Matrix" on steroids — and not an easy one to have filmed in the real world. "One of the coolest things about it is that we kind of did it for real," Gordon-Levitt said. "We weren't in one of those zero-gravity machines, but we weren't in front of a green screen either. The mode, the fashion in Hollywood nowadays, is to do it all with computers later. But [director] Christopher Nolan likes things to feel real. If he had put me in front of a green screen and said, 'Pretend you're floating. Pretend you're off-balance,' I would have been like, 'Ah, I'm floating, I'm off-balance.'
"But instead, he put me in the middle of this set that spun around 360 degrees or he hung me on wires or put me on this seesaw contraption," he added. "All of those moments where it looks like I'm off-balance? That's because I was off-balance. I was doing my best to keep my balance and fight this guy when the floor was becoming the wall and the ceiling was becoming the floor."
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