Joseph Gordon-Levitt is carving out quite a career for himself. The former sitcom kid has become a hot property in Hollywood. Watching re-runs of 3rd Rock from the Sun and seeing that nerdy boy alien with a bad 90s ‘do and watching Gordon-Levitt all grown up in films like The Lookout and (500) Days of Summer makes for an interesting evolution to behold. He escaped the dreaded Hollywood pigeon-hole of the former child star that befell actors like Danny Bonaduce and Christopher Knight. He made good choices, didn’t vie for the big flashy blockbusters or the mainstream right away, but instead segued from television into the teen film world with some success – 10 Things I Hate About You was smart and fun – and then he took an artful turn into indiedom. He became an indie darling, starred in films like Mysterious Skin and Brick, which showed how incredibly he could act. Now he seems on the brink of movie stardom.
Like all actors, Gordon-Levitt’s filmography is not without its blemishes. He went big action, big blockbuster, and big dud in the critically maligned film G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra. But he followed up that mediocre foray into the world of action films with a real stunner: Inception. The role was physical. It involved a great deal of wire work, fighting, jumping and maneuvering. Injuries would be very likely he was told by the film’s director Christopher Nolan, and he said that was okay; he’d do anything required of him and never once complain.
That is the kind of reputation Gordon-Levitt has fashioned for himself. He’s a motivated, dedicated, ambitious, discerning and all-in kind of actor who looks for good projects, aligns himself with respected professionals, delves completely into his roles and makes films better just for having been in them. He’s developed a great respect for Christopher Nolan and it seems the feeling is mutual, for Nolan tapped Gordon-Levitt to star in his hugely anticipated blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises.
I think about (500) Days of Summer which is such a special film. It opens by telling us that it will not be your typical love story and I think that’s why it remains fondly in my movie memory bank. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel combine to form an absolutely entrancing onscreen couple and Gordon-Levitt’s Tom is believable, hopeful, poetic and yearning as he reaches out to secure a love that he isn’t sure will last forever. Tom believes “she’s better than the girl of my dreams” and every expression, gesture and line exhibited or expressed by Gordon-Levitt is a feat of great acting.
Gordon-Levitt has managed to avoid the Hollywood microscope and the paparazzi barrage. He’s shaken the child actor image, earned great respect in the indie world and has made short films on his own terms and on his own dime. He’s used a smart, patient and thoughtful approach to his career to reinvent himself as a seriously versatile actor open to any project, big or small, as long as the projects involve working with people making genuine movies and as long as his creativity as an artist inspires others to be creative too.
What are your favourite Joseph Gordon-Levitt films? Let us know in the comments section.