How A Musical Number Prepared Joseph Gordon-Levitt For ‘Premium Rush’

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has had more than a few physical roles in his career as an actor. But flying around rotating hallways and running down the streets of Gotham are nothing compared to the work he did on a fixed-gear bike for “Premium Rush.”

When MTV News’ Josh Horowitz spoke with Gordon-Levitt and his director David Koepp, the actor filled us in on why such a physically demanding role was just what he needed when he accepted the part.

Back when “Premium Rush” was casting, Gordon-Levitt was just coming off of another movie that forced him to the opposite end of the spectrum physically.

“The first time I read the script for ’Premium Rush,’ I was right in the middle of shooting ’50/50,’ where I was playing this guy battling cancer, whose body was giving up on him,” he said. “So to play a guy who was really confident and healthy with his body and the idea of going to New York City and riding every day and getting in shape really appealed to me.”

Koepp became convinced that Gordon-Levitt was up to the task of riding a bike all day after a musical number he performed on live TV. “The thing I think that struck me the most when I was thinking of him for the part was [Gordon-Levitt] had hosted Saturday Night Live that time and did the Donald O’Connor number, which was so incredible, and you could tell that it was just beating the sh– out him, but because it’s a musical number, he has to smile,” he said. “You’re chipper, but you’re bouncing off stuff, and those ribs had to hurt. I had a feeling that physicality would not be a problem.”