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Joseph Gordon-Levitt: '50/50' is a great movie title

September 29, 2011 | 10:47 am


"50/50" is a buddy comedy about cancer, but you wouldn't know it from the title. And that's on purpose. The executives at Summit Entertainment changed the original title of Will Reiser's script "I'm With Cancer" in an effort to not alienate audiences from the film's tough subject matter.

In fact, if you didn't know ahead of time that the film was a cancer movie, you might not be more informed after taking a look at the poster. Sure, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is shaving his head, but it's not exactly clear why. And the tag line "It takes a pair to beat the odds" conjures up ideas of gambling. Add in Seth Rogen in the background, and you'd think Gordon-Levitt lost a bet--not that he's shaving his head in preparation for this upcoming chemotherapy treatment.

The studio grappled with other titles for the comedy, which is generating positive reviews ahead of its release on Friday. "Get Well Soon" was discussed as one possible alternative. But "50/50," according to star Gordon-Levitt, is a perfect title. Said the 30-year old actor, "I like the title '50/50' so much better then 'I’m With Cancer.'

"Before the movie was titled that, my mind kept coming back to the idea of what if someone told me I had a 50% chance of dying," the actor said during a recent interview at the Toronto International Film Festival. "I would be thinking about coin flips all the time. I also like it because the phrase '50/50' invokes a relationship and that’s what the movie is really about, much more so than cancer.

He continued: "Yes, the story is about a guy who has cancer but it’s really about the relationships he has in his life: his friend, his mom, how he’s dealing with women. That’s really the heart and soul of the movie."

To hear more from Gordon-Levitt, read this interview with the actor, who's currently at work filming Christopher Nolan's upcoming Batman sequel, "The Dark Knight Rises."


Toronto 2011: Joseph Gordon-Levitt turns emcee

Will Reiser and writing about what you know: getting cancer

--Nicole Sperling

Photo: Anna Kendrick, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen in "50/50." Credit: Ed Araquel/Summit Entertainment