22 September 2012

Looper: Time Travel Meets Left Handedness

[Spoilers--but nothing you wouldn't learn from the trailer]

When you mix time travel, assassins, and Bruce Willis (a great leftie), you get a tangled tale of murderous switch hitting--You get Looper. I have no evidence that writer/director Rian Johnson is left handed, but he has to manage both time travel and hand preference, two potentially confusing threads, in this new film.

The plot involves both younger (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and older (played by Bruce Willis) versions of hitperson Joseph Simmons. Since Gordon-Levitt is right handed, some acting and perhaps camera tricks were involved.

Willis as leftie older Joe
Gordon-Levitt as "leftie"(?) younger Joe
In the trailer 1 (here) younger Joe sometimes appears to be left handed, sometimes right handed.

Hand preference issues can lead to continuity problems, as in the shot where Joe reaches into his lap for his pistol, which might have been shot by a second unit. The shot had to be reversed to make it appear he is reaching with his left hand. (See IMFDb.) In the rest of the shots from this diner scene in trailer 2 (here), young Joe handles his weapon right handed. (He also seems to switch from an automatic to a revolver in this clip.) We'll have to wait for the finished film to see if they have gotten all this straightened out.

[Update 2 May 2013--I guess writer/director Rian Johnson didn't try to make anything out of Joe's hand preference. In the film Bruce Willis is mostly left handed, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is mostly right handed. There is no explanation of the apparent change in handedness that happens over the intervening 30 years from Young Joe to Old Joe. And no clever plot elements depend on hand preference. Opportunity wasted? Did Mr. Johnson think we just wouldn't notice? What do you think?]

Older Joe and younger Joe images are from Internet Movie Firearms Database, extracted from trailers for the film.

Bruce Willis's hand preference is revealed in previous posts here and here.

10 September 2012

Left Handers in the U.S. Cabinet

You don't have to be left handed to be a member of the Cabinet of the United States, and in fact it doesn't seem to help you get appointed to a Cabinet-level position.

That well-known lefthander Barak Obama appointed experienced southpaw Lisa P. Jackson to be Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December 2008.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and
EPA Administrator Jackson sign an agreement
Ms. Jackson also shares with President Obama her African-American heritage.

The other left-handed member of President Obama's cabinet is his Secretary of Education. A good sign?

Secretary of Educaton Arne Duncan

The hand preference of some Cabinet-level officers was hard to determine. Maybe the following could get in touch and let us know:

  • White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew?
  • Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jeffrey Zients?
  • Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Alan Krueger?
But in any event out of the 23 Cabinet members and Cabinet-level officers only two are clearly left handed. Not more than expected from the general population.

Photo credits: 
Lisa Jackson: Public domain NASA photo from Wikimedia Commons
Arne Duncan: Public domain Department of Education photo