Joseph Gordon-Levitt's turn as Tom in "(500) Days of Summer" instantly solidified his standing as a heartthrob with an everyman twist, but the actor cautions against taking Tom too seriously.
In an interview with Playboy, Gordon-Levitt reminded fans that though Tom's stop-at-nothing mentality in chasing Summer (Zoeey Deschanel) may appear cute on screen, it's not an attitude worth adopting in real life.
"The (500) Days of Summer attitude of 'He wants you so bad' seems attractive to some women and men, especially younger ones," the actor said. "But I would encourage anyone who has a crush on my character to watch it again and examine how selfish he is."
In the film, Summer tells Tom she is neither looking for a boyfriend nor believes in love. Tom cares little for these warnings and grows extremely attached to her. After they break up (and Summer gets engaged to another man), he enters into a deep depression.
"He develops a mildly delusional obsession over a girl onto whom he projects all these fantasies," Gordon-Levitt explained. "He thinks she’ll give his life meaning because he doesn’t care about much else going on in his life. A lot of boys and girls think their lives will have meaning if they find a partner who wants nothing else in life but them. That’s not healthy. That’s falling in love with the idea of a person, not the actual person."
Gordon-Levitt made it clear that he "really liked" the film, and took more issue with the audience's response than the story line. "A part of the movie that’s less talked about is that once Zooey’s character dumps the guy, he builds himself up without the crutch of a fantasy relationship, and he meets a new girl," he said.
As a man who recently caught flack for saying "most pretty girls aren't funny," perhaps JGL understands what it means to have fantasies projected on him.
Aside from "(500) Days of Summer," JGL has been beleaguered with questions about a potential "Dark Knight Rises" sequel. His character gets a nice set up at the end of the film, but director Christopher Nolan has repeatedly said that movie -- the third in a trilogy -- is his final Batman project. Gordon-Levitt recently said he has "no idea" what the fate of the franchise is, but hinted that he would be open to reprising his role if the conditions were right.