Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt (/ˈlɛvɪt/; born February 17, 1981) is an American actor, filmmaker, singer, and entrepreneur. He has received various accolades, including nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his leading performances in 500 Days of Summer (2009) and 50/50 (2011). He is the founder of the online media platform HitRecord whose projects such as HitRecord on TV (2014–15) and Create Together (2020) won him two Primetime Emmy Awards in the category of Outstanding Interactive Program.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2019 - Day 1 (cropped).jpeg
Gordon-Levitt in 2019
Born
Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt

(1981-02-17) February 17, 1981 (age 40)
EducationColumbia University
Occupation
  • Actor
  • filmmaker
  • singer
  • entrepreneur
Years active1988–present
Spouse(s)
Tasha McCauley
(m. 2014)
Children2
RelativesMichael Gordon (grandfather)
AwardsFull list

Born in Los Angeles, California, to a Jewish family, he began his acting career as a child, appearing in the films A River Runs Through It (1992), Holy Matrimony (1994), and Angels in the Outfield (1994), which earned him a Young Artist Award and a Saturn Award nomination. He played the role of Tommy Solomon in the TV series 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996–2001) for which he received three nominations at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. He had a supporting role in 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) before taking a break from acting to study at Columbia University, but dropped out in 2004 to resume his acting career.

Since returning to acting, he has starred in Manic (2001), Mysterious Skin (2004), Brick (2005), The Lookout (2007), The Brothers Bloom (2008), Miracle at St. Anna (2008), G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009), Inception (2010), Hesher (2010), Premium Rush (2012), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Looper (2012), and Lincoln (2012). He portrayed Philippe Petit in the Robert Zemeckis-directed film The Walk (2015) and whistleblower Edward Snowden in the Oliver Stone film Snowden (2016). In 2020, he starred in the legal drama The Trial of the Chicago 7, for which he won the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

In 2013, he wrote and directed Don Jon, a comedy-drama film that was released to critical acclaim,[1] earning him an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best First Screenplay. He previously directed and edited two short films, both of which were released in 2010: Morgan M. Morgansen's Date with Destiny and Morgan and Destiny's Eleventeenth Date: The Zeppelin Zoo. In 2021, he wrote, directed and starred in a comedy drama series Mr. Corman on Apple TV+.

Early lifeEdit

Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt was born in Los Angeles, California,[2] and was raised in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood.[3] He is Ashkenazi Jewish, from a family that is "not strictly religious"[4] and his parents were among the founders of the Progressive Jewish Alliance.[5] Gordon-Levitt's father, Dennis Levitt, was once the news director for the Pacifica Radio station, KPFK-FM.[6][7] His mother, Jane Gordon, ran for the United States Congress in California during the 1970s for the Peace and Freedom Party; she met Dennis Levitt while she was working as the program guide editor for KPFK-FM.[6] His maternal grandfather, Michael Gordon (1909–1993), was a Hollywood film director.[6] Gordon-Levitt had an older brother, Dan,[8][9] a photographer and fire spinner who died in 2010 at the age of 36.[10] Gordon-Levitt attended Van Nuys High School and graduated in 1999.[11]

CareerEdit

Early acting workEdit

 
Gordon-Levitt at a promotional event for 500 Days of Summer in March 2009

Gordon-Levitt joined a musical theater group at the age of four and played the Scarecrow in a production of The Wizard of Oz. Subsequently, he was approached by an agent and began appearing on television and in commercials for Sunny Jim peanut butter, Cocoa Puffs, Pop-Tarts, and Kinney Shoes.[6]

At age six he starred in several made-for-television films. In 1991, he played both David Collins and Daniel Collins in the Dark Shadows television series and appeared in the movie A River Runs Through It .[12] In the same year, he made an appearance as a boy who witnesses a murder in an episode of Quantum Leap. During 1992–93, he played in The Powers That Be, a sitcom starring John Forsythe as a clever young boy named Pierce Van Horne. Also in 1992, he portrayed Gregory Kingsley in the made-for-TV film Switching Parents, based on Kingsley's real life case of "divorcing" his parents. In 1994, he starred in the Disney film Angels in the Outfield as an orphan who sees angels. In 1996, he got the role of Tommy Solomon on the sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. The series ran for six seasons. The San Francisco Chronicle noted that Gordon-Levitt was a "Jewish kid playing an extraterrestrial pretending to be a Jewish kid".[13] During the 1990s, he was frequently featured in teenage magazines. He also made an appearance on That '70s Show in 1998 as Buddy, a gay teenager who assumes his friend (main character Eric Forman) is gay as well, in the episode "Eric's Buddy".[14]

Gordon-Levitt had a supporting role in 1998's Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, the 1999 film 10 Things I Hate About You, a modern-day adaptation of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, and voiced Jim Hawkins in Treasure Planet (2002), a Disney adaptation of the novel Treasure Island.[15] In 2000, he began attending Columbia University.[6] He studied history, literature, and French poetry.[6] He became an avid Francophile and a French speaker.[6] He said that moving to New York City from his hometown forced him to grow as a person.[13] He dropped out in 2004 to concentrate on acting again.[6]

Later acting workEdit

Gordon-Levitt has said that he made a conscious decision to "be in good movies" after returning to acting.[16] His films include 2001's drama Manic which was set in a mental institution, Mysterious Skin (2004) in which he played a gay prostitute and child sexual abuse victim, and Brick (2005), a modern-day film noir set at a high school. In Brick he had the lead role of Brendan Frye, a teen who becomes involved in an underground drug ring while investigating a murder. Brick received positive reviews, with The Minnesota Daily's critic commenting that Gordon-Levitt played the character "beautifully", saying the performance was "true to (the) film's style", "unfeeling but not disenchanted", and "sexy in the most ambiguous way."[16][17] Another review describes the performance as "astounding".[18] He starred opposite Steve Sandvoss as a young judgmental missionary in Latter Days (2003), a film that centers on a sexually repressed Mormon missionary (Sandvoss) who falls for his gay neighbor. He also had roles in Havoc and Shadowboxer.[19]

 
Gordon-Levitt at WonderCon in March 2012

His next role was in 2007's The Lookout in which he played Chris Pratt, a janitor involved in a bank heist. In reviewing the film, The Philadelphia Inquirer described Gordon-Levitt as a "surprisingly formidable, and formidably surprising, leading man",[20] while New York magazine stated that he is a "major tabula rasa actor ... a minimalist", and his character is effective because he "doesn't seize the space ... by what he takes away from the character."[21] The San Francisco Chronicle specified that he "embodies, more than performs, a character's inner life."[13] His 2008 and 2009 films include Stop-Loss, directed by Kimberly Peirce and revolving around American soldiers returning from the Iraq War, and Killshot in which he played a hoodlum partnered with a hired killer played by Mickey Rourke.[16]

Gordon-Levitt played a lead role opposite to friend Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer, a well-received 2009 release about the deconstruction of a relationship.[19] His performance, described as "the real key" to what makes the film work, credits him with using "his usual spell in subtle gradations."[22] Variety's Todd McCarthy praised his performance, saying he "expressively alternates between enthusiasm and forlorn disappointment in the manner Jack Lemmon could".[23] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said the movie "hits you like a blast of pure romantic oxygen" and credited both lead actors for playing "it for real, with a grasp of subtlety and feeling that goes beyond the call of breezy duty."[24] He was subsequently nominated for a Golden Globe Award.[25]

He later played villain Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.[26] On November 21, 2009, he hosted Saturday Night Live.[27] In 2010, he replaced James Franco[28] and starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Christopher Nolan's science fiction thriller Inception, which received favorable reviews.[19]

In 2011, Gordon-Levitt began filming Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises in which he played John Blake, a police officer who emerges as a key ally of Batman.[29]In Premium Rush, he played the starring role of a fixie-riding, brash bicycle messenger; he portrayed the younger version of Bruce Willis' character, in a shared role for the time-travel thriller Looper;[30] and the supporting role of Robert Todd Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's biopic Lincoln. All three movies were released in 2012.[31]

Gordon-Levitt played a new character, Johnny, in the sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014), described by the filmmakers as "a cocky gambler who disguises a darker mission to destroy his most foul enemy at his best game".[32] In October 2013, it was reported that he was one of the frontrunners to play the lead character for Marvel Studios' superhero film Ant-Man which eventually went to Paul Rudd.[33]

 
Gordon-Levitt in November 2013

In 2015, Gordon-Levitt starred as Philippe Petit in the biographical drama The Walk, directed by Academy Award-winning director Robert Zemeckis. Gordon-Levitt then played National Security Agency surveillance leaker Edward Snowden in Snowden, directed by Oliver Stone.[34] The film was released in North America on September 16, 2016 and also starred Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, and Nicolas Cage.

In 2017, Gordon-Levitt had a voice cameo in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.[35] In 2019, Gordon-Levitt starred in 7500 directed by Patrick Vollrath, which had its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival on August 9, 2019.[36] It was released on June 19, 2020, by Amazon Studios.[37] That same year, Gordon-Levitt had a voice cameo in Knives Out.[38]

Gordon-Levitt starred in Project Power, directed by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, opposite Jamie Foxx and Dominique Fishback; it was released on August 14, 2020, by Netflix.[39][40] He next played lawyer Richard Schultz in the drama film The Trial of the Chicago 7. The movie was written and directed by Aaron Sorkin; its release date was September 25, 2020.[41][42] In March 2021, it was announced that Levitt would voice Jiminy Cricket in Robert Zemeckis' live-action film adaptation of Pinocchio.[43] He will star as Travis Kalanick, former CEO of Uber, in Showtime's anthology series Super Pumped, based on the bestselling book Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac.[44]

Directing and producingEdit

Gordon-Levitt's first film as director, the 24-minute-long Sparks was an adaptation of a short story by Elmore Leonard starring Carla Gugino and Eric Stoltz. Sparks was selected for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival to be shown as part of a new program for short films.[45] In 2010, he directed another short film, Morgan and Destiny's Eleventeenth Date: The Zeppelin Zoo.[46] It premiered at two houses during the South by Southwest festival in Austin.[46]

He was one of the many producers of the Broadway show Slava's Snowshow.[47]

In 2013, Gordon-Levitt wrote, directed, and starred in his screenwriting and directorial debut, Don Jon. The film also stars Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, and Tony Danza and it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013. Following the premiere, the film was acquired by Relativity Media and Gordon-Levitt stated: "I always intended this to be a movie for a mass popular audience. Everyone told me it was a long shot ... I couldn't possibly be more grateful."[48]

In September 2019, it was announced Gordon-Levitt would write, direct, star, and executive produce Mr. Corman, a comedy-drama series produced by A24 for Apple TV+.[49]

HitRecordEdit

HitRecord (pronounced /ˈhɪt rɪˈkɔːrd/; often stylized as hitREC●rd) is an online collaborative media platform founded and owned by Gordon-Levitt. The company uses a variety of media to produce such projects as short films, books, and DVDs.[50] HitRecord has produced such short films as Morgan M. Morgansen's Date with Destiny and its sequel Morgan and Destiny's Eleventeenth Date: The Zeppelin Zoo.

Gordon-Levitt created the platform in 2010 after a period of stagnation in his acting career. "I wanted to be creative, and no one was letting me [so I said] OK, I have to figure out something to do on my own." The company has $6.4 million in venture capital.[51]

On 6 November 2020, Gordon-Levitt released Hong Kong Never Sleeps, a collaborative short film paying homage to Hong Kong created on hitRECord, on his Facebook page. It features photos and videos he collected from Hong Kongers since August 2020, which some themed around the Hong Kong protests starting in 2019, and voice by actors he recruited on October 2020.[52][53]

Personal lifeEdit

In October 2013, Gordon-Levitt identified himself as a feminist, giving credit to his mother: "My mom brought me up to be a feminist. She was active in the movement in the 1960s and 1970s. The Hollywood movie industry has come a long way since its past. It certainly has a bad history of sexism, but it ain't all the way yet."[54]

In December 2014, Gordon-Levitt married Tasha McCauley, the founder and CEO of technology company Fellow Robots.[55][56] Their first child, a son, was born in August 2015.[57] Their second son was born in June 2017.[58] He has been living with his family in Wellington, New Zealand, since October 2020 after moving his new TV production there to safely film outside of the Covid-19 pandemic.[59]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

List of film appearances, with year released and role shown
Year Title Role Notes
1992 Beethoven Student #1 Film debut
1992 A River Runs Through It Young Norman Maclean
1994 Holy Matrimony Ezekiel "Zeke" Jacobson
1994 Roadflower Rich Lerolland
1994 Angels in the Outfield Roger Bomman
1996 The Juror Oliver Laird
1998 Sweet Jane Tony
1998 Halloween H20: 20 Years Later James "Jimmy" Howell
1999 10 Things I Hate About You Cameron James
2000 Picking Up the Pieces Flaco
2000 Forever Lulu Martin Ellsworth
2001 Manic Lyle Jensen
2002 Treasure Planet Jim Hawkins (voice)
2003 Latter Days Elder Paul Ryder
2004 Mysterious Skin Neil McCormick
2005 Brick Brendan Frye
2005 Havoc Sam
2005 Shadowboxer Dr. Don
2007 The Lookout Chris Pratt
2008 Stop-Loss Tommy Burgess
2008 Miracle at St. Anna Tim Boyle
2008 The Brothers Bloom Bar Patron Uncredited cameo[60]
2009 Killshot Richie Nix
2009 Big Breaks Todd Sterling Short film
2009 500 Days of Summer Tom Hansen
2009 Uncertainty Bobby Thompson
2009 Women in Trouble Bert Rodriguez
2009 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Rex Lewis / Cobra Commander
2010 Hesher Hesher
2010 Morgan M. Morgansen's Date with Destiny Morgan M. Morgansen / Narrator Short film; also director and editor
2010 Elektra Luxx Bert Rodriguez
2010 Morgan and Destiny's Eleventeenth Date Morgan M. Morgansen / Narrator Short film; also director and editor
2010 Inception Arthur
2011 50/50 Adam Lerner
2012 The Dark Knight Rises Robin "John" Blake
2012 Premium Rush Wilee
2012 Looper Joe Also executive producer
2012 Lincoln Robert Todd Lincoln
2013 Don Jon Jon "Don Jon" Martello Jr. Also director and writer
2014 The Wind Rises Jiro Horikoshi (voice) English dub[61]
2014 Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Johnny
2014 The Interview Himself Uncredited cameo[62]
2015 The Walk Philippe Petit
2015 The Night Before Ethan Miller
2016 Snowden Edward Snowden
2017 Star Wars: The Last Jedi Slowen Lo (voice) Cameo
2018 Endgame Security Guard Short film[citation needed]
2019 7500 Tobias Ellis
2019 Knives Out Detective Hardrock (voice) Uncredited cameo[63]
2020 Project Power Frank Shaver
2020 The Trial of the Chicago 7 Richard Schultz
TBA Pinocchio Jiminy Cricket (voice) In production

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1988 Stranger on My Land Rounder Television film
1988 Family Ties Dougie 2 episodes
1989 Settle the Score Justin Television film
1990 Murder, She Wrote Boy No. 1 Episode: "Shear Madness"
1991 Changes Matthew "Matt" Hallam Television film
1991 Hi Honey – I'm Dead Josh Stadler Television film
1991 Plymouth Simon Television film
1991 Dark Shadows Daniel Collins / David Collins 11 episodes
1991 China Beach 9-year-old Archie Winslow Episode: "Quest"
1991 Quantum Leap Kyle Episode: "Permanent Wave"
1991 L.A. Law Rick Berg Episode: "Lose the Boss"
1992 The Powers That Be Pierce Van Horne 13 episodes
1993 Gregory K Gregory Kingsley Television film
1993 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Zack Lawson Episode: "The Secret"
1993–1995 Roseanne George 4 episodes
1995 The Great Elephant Escape Matthew Television film
1996–2001 3rd Rock from the Sun Tommy Solomon 131 episodes
1998 That '70s Show Buddy Morgan Episode: "Eric's Buddy"
2000 The Outer Limits Zach Episode: "Something About Harry"
2005 Numb3rs Scott Reynolds Episode: "Sacrifice"
2009,
2012
Saturday Night Live Himself / Host 2 episodes
2013 Lady Gaga and the Muppets Holiday Spectacular Himself Television special
2014–2015 HitRecord on TV Himself / Host Also executive producer
2015 Comedy Bang! Bang! Himself Episode: "Joseph Gordon-Levitt Wears a Heart T-Shirt and Blue Jeans"
2015 The Mindy Project Matt Sherman Episode: "While I Was Sleeping"
2015 The Muppets Himself Episode: "Going, Going, Gonzo"
2015 Lip Sync Battle Himself Episode: "Joseph Gordon-Levitt vs. Anthony Mackie"
2015 Todrick Himself Episode: "You Unfollowed Me"
2017 Comrade Detective Iosif Baciu (voice) 6 episodes
2018 Drop the Mic Himself Episode: "Seth Rogen vs. Joseph Gordon-Levitt / Terry Crews vs. Luis Fonsi"
2018 The Comedy Central Roast Himself / Host Episode: "Bruce Willis"
2019 Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration Himself / Host Television special
2021 Mr. Corman Josh Corman Also director, writer, and executive producer
2021 Star Wars: Visions Jay (voice) Short film: Tatooine Rhapsody: English language dub[64]
TBA Super Pumped Travis Kalanick Anthology series

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2002 Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon Jim Hawkins (voice)
2009 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Cobra Commander (voice)

DiscographyEdit

Joseph Gordon-Levitt discography
 
Gordon-Levitt plays "Hey Jude" at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival
Compilation albums2
Singles16
Soundtrack albums1


AlbumsEdit

500 Days of Summer: Music from the Original Motion Picture
hitRECord : RECollection, Vol. 1
Move On the Sun

SinglesEdit

"Here Comes Your Man" 2009
"Bad Romance" 2010
"La Valse à Mille Temps"
"(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman"
"Lithium" 2011
"Alcohol"
"You Can't Hurry Love"
"Who's Lovin' You"
"Midnight Radio"
"C.R.E.A.M."
"I Don't Want to Live on the Moon"
"Don't Look Back in Anger"
"Sick Again"
"Nothing Big (Spaceship Remix)"
"Words We're Waiting"
"Why Am I So Dizzy?" 2012

Awards and nominationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit

Preceded by
Chris O'Donnell
Actors to portray Robin
2012
Succeeded by
none