Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Big Bet: Turning Down Tarantino for His $41M Directorial Rom-Com Debut with Scarlett Johansson

Many actors would jump at the chance to work with Quentin Tarantino, widely considered one of the most impactful directors of our age.

However, in the early 2010s, Joseph Gordon-Levitt did something quite unexpected – he turned down a role in a Tarantino film.

Gordon-Levitt, a fan and admirer of Tarantino’s acclaimed body of work, shared his reason for declining this prestigious opportunity.


His love for Tarantino’s films couldn’t distract him from his current pursuit – his maiden directorial venture.

Don Jon (2013)

In the early 2010s, Gordon-Levitt was at the top of his game, starring in iconic Christopher Nolan projects like “Inception” and “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Around this time, Tarantino approached him for a role in his star-studded film “Django Unchained.” Gordon-Levitt confessed his admiration for the director but declined due to his commitments with his directorial debut “Don Jon.” He remarked,


“I couldn’t accept that offer even though I’d love to. It simply wasn’t feasible. I’ve spoken to Quentin about it, and I’m grateful for his faith in me for that small role in his movie.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

I would have loved to do it. He’s one of my favorite filmmakers, and his support for my directorial venture meant the world to me.”

The journey to creating “Don Jon” was far from smooth. Given the film’s unusual theme – a man addicted to explicit content – securing funding was tough.


However, the addition of Hollywood heavyweight Scarlett Johansson as the lead in the film alongside Gordon-Levitt catalyzed the process.

Quentin Tarantino

Despite missing the opportunity to be a part of “Django Unchained,” which was a box office sensation and a critics’ favorite, things panned out quite well for Gordon-Levitt.

“Don Jon,” his passion project, performed reasonably at the box office, raking in approximately $41 million from a modest budget of $7.5 million.


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