Joseph Gordon-Levitt grew up in the public eye as a child actor, and people who watched "3rd Rock from the Sun" remember his as an awkward, sometimes gangly boy. He continued to look a bit awkward and gangly in movies such as "500 Days of Summer" as an adult, but he then bulked up for a movie role and is now considered to be one of the best-looking and most versatile actors in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Scarlett Johansson has always been named as one of the most beautiful and talented actresses in the industry. When it was announced that she would star as Gordon-Levitt's love interest in his directorial debut, "Don Jon," many wondered if these two gorgeous costars would have any onscreen chemistry.
Thankfully, the two actors have great chemistry and provide a whole lot of heat for the film. This is pretty extraordinary, because according to Gordon-Levitt, he and Johansson had never met before even though they have both been in the industry for a number of years. When the actor sat down to write the screenplay for the film, he said he had Johansson in mind from the very start. Although they didn't know each other, he knew that her qualities as an actress and as a person were perfect for the character he had in mind. He wasn't sure if Johansson was available to do the movie though, and he didn't have anyone else in mind.
Thankfully, Johansson's very busy film schedule was free during the time "Don Jon" (watch trailer) was supposed to shoot and she liked Gordon-Levitt's script, so she signed on to do the film. The two became fast friends while filming, and that easy friendship can be seen onscreen. Gordon-Levitt plays the titular Jon, a bartender who has no ambition in life other than to party on his days off and sleep with as many beautiful women as he can. He also watches pornography habitually, sometimes enjoying it more than his real sexual encounters. His problem is so bad that he often leaves the women in bed post-coitus and goes to watch his large collection of naughty movies on his laptop.
Johansson plays Barbara, who just happens to be in the bar that Jon and his friends have chosen to find their next sexual conquests. Barbara is a self-assured woman who Jon thinks is his ideal match, the woman of his dreams. He tries to hit on her, but she is having none of it and makes him work hard just to get her number. He finally wins her over, and the two begin dating, which is where the chemistry really gets cranked to the next level. When the two characters are falling in love, the connection between Gordon-Levitt and Johansson is fantastic, even electric at times. They have an ease with each other on the screen that only the most well-paired actors can have.
Barbara tries to get her new paramour to clean up his life by going back to school and getting a degree so that he won't have to rely on tips from drunks each night for his livelihood. She takes an active interest in Jon's life, and the audience can see that the characters truly care about each other. Just as many unspoken words pass between them as spoken ones, and the physical and emotional chemistry the two actors have makes even the unspoken messages loud and clear.
When Barbara finds out about Jon's secret addiction, she is furious at first. She tries to get him to stop, but he doesn't realize he is addicted and refuses. When the two break up over Jon's porn habit, the hurt is palpable. Once again, it is the great heat between the two actors that makes viewers realize just how painful the breakup is, even if Jon tries to dismiss it as no big deal at first. When he tries to follow Barbara's advice and enrolls in night school, the audience realizes he is doing it not just to better his life but also because he misses Barbara and wants to do well by her. Their excellent performances make this premise truly believable, and it's sometimes hard to believe that the two aren't romantically involved in real life. Although Johansson and Gordon-Levitt aren't a couple, fans can still hope that they will at least team up as an onscreen duo again in the future.