If you haven't seen Joseph Gordon-Levitt's biking-in-traffic skills via the action-packed trailer for his new thriller "Premium Rush," do so immediately and you will understand from that brief tease that Gordon-Levitt spends a lot of time dodging traffic and getting hit by cars.
When MTV News caught up with the actor and "Rush" director David Koepp recently, we asked them to talk about how intense the biking action really was and whether the physicality sold Gordon-Levitt on the project.
"The first time I read the script for 'Premium Rush,' I was in the middle of shooting '50/50,' a movie where I was playing a guy battling cancer whose body is giving up on him," Gordon-Levitt recalled. "So to play a guy who's really confident and healthy in his body, the idea of going to New York City and riding every day and getting in shape really appealed to me."
Koepp added that while Gordon-Levitt's work in previous films gave him plenty of credibility, what sold him on the actor's abilities was his opening monologue on "Saturday Night Live."
"The thing I think that struck me the most about Joe when I was thinking of him for the part, he had hosted 'Saturday Night Live' and did that Donald O'Connor number, which was so incredibly physical," Koepp said. "You could tell it was beating him up, but because it's a musical number, he has to smile, he's chipper, but he's bouncing off stuff, so I had a feeling that physicality would not be a problem."
Koepp said that as entertaining as it is to read and watch the complicated adrenaline-charged story unfold, the cast and crew put themselves in real danger during filming because they had bikers riding in real traffic at high speeds.
"There was a stage in which [screenwriter John Kamps] and I were writing the script, and I thought, 'I know I want to direct this, but this is really going to be brutal, this is really going to be hard,' but that's kind of the fun," he explained. "You keep going, and I'm sure when you read it [speaking to Gordon-Levitt] you thought, 'This is going to be difficult. Well, I'm going to do it. It's going to be fun,' and then you get out there, and it's so much harder than you anticipated, and it's so much more dangerous. My greatest fear was that someone was going to get killed; thank God nobody did. Sending people into live traffic on bikes at 30 miles per hour: It's [dangerous], but it looks great."
Check out everything we've got on "Premium Rush."
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.