Joseph Gordon-Levitt

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt 2013.jpg
Gordon-Levitt at the London Film Festival screening of Don Jon, November 2013
BornJoseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt
(1981-02-17) February 17, 1981 (age 33)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
EducationVan Nuys High School
Columbia University (did not graduate)
OccupationActor, director, writer, producer
Owner and founder of hitRECord
Years active1988–present
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Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt 2013.jpg
Gordon-Levitt at the London Film Festival screening of Don Jon, November 2013
BornJoseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt
(1981-02-17) February 17, 1981 (age 33)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
EducationVan Nuys High School
Columbia University (did not graduate)
OccupationActor, director, writer, producer
Owner and founder of hitRECord
Years active1988–present

Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt[1] (/ˌsəf ˈɡɔrdən ˈlɛvɨt/; born February 17, 1981)[2][3] is an American actor, director, screenwriter, producer, and editor. As a child star, he appeared in the films A River Runs Through It, Angels in the Outfield, and 10 Things I Hate About You, and as Tommy Solomon in the TV series 3rd Rock from the Sun.

He took a break from acting to study at Columbia University, but dropped out in 2004 to pursue acting again. He has since starred in (500) Days of Summer, Inception, Hesher, 50/50, Premium Rush, The Dark Knight Rises, Brick, Looper, The Lookout, Manic, Lincoln, Mysterious Skin, and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. He also founded the online production company hitRECord in 2004 and has hosted his own TV series, HitRecord on TV, since January 2014.

In 2013, Gordon-Levitt made his feature film directing and screenwriting debut with Don Jon, a comedy film in which he also stars. 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.

Early life[edit]

Gordon-Levitt was born in Los Angeles, California,[1] and was raised in its Sherman Oaks neighborhood.[4] He is Jewish, from a family that is "not strictly religious";[5][6] his parents were among the founders of the Progressive Jewish Alliance.[7][8][9] His father, Dennis Levitt, was once the news director for the Pacifica Radio station, KPFK-FM.[10][11] 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.[10] Gordon-Levitt's maternal grandfather, Michael Gordon, was a Hollywood film director between the 1940s and 1970s and directed the 1959 Doris Day/Rock Hudson film Pillow Talk.[10]


Early acting work[edit]

Gordon-Levitt joined a musical theater group at the age of four and played the Scarecrow in a production of The Wizard of Oz.[10] 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.[10]

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.[12] 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 appeared in the Disney film Angels in the Outfield as an orphan who sees angels. In 1996 he began playing 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] Gordon-Levitt was attending Van Nuys High School while acting on the show.[14] During the 1990s, he was frequently featured in teenage magazines, something he resented.[10] He has also said that during this time period, he did not enjoy being recognized in public, saying that he "hates celebrity".[13]

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

Gordon-Levitt starred in 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 School of General Studies.[10][16] He studied history, literature, and French poetry.[10] He became an avid Francophile and a French speaker.[10] 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.[10]

Later acting work[edit]

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 which 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", "true to film's style", "unfeeling but not disenchanted", and "sexy in the most ambiguous way."[16][17] Another reviewer described the performance as "astounding".[18] He also 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 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 that his character worked 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] to star 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] Also released in 2012, he played the starring role of a bicycle messenger in the action film Premium Rush; the younger version of the lead role, shared with Bruce Willis, in the time-travel thriller Looper;[30] and the supporting role of Robert Todd Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's biopic Lincoln.[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's superhero film Ant-Man, which eventually went to Paul Rudd.[33]

Directing and producing[edit]

Gordon-Levitt's first film as director, the 24 minute-long Sparks, an adaptation of a short story by Elmore Leonard starring Carla Gugino and Eric Stoltz, was selected for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival as part of a new program for short films.[34] In 2010, he directed another short film, Morgan and Destiny's Eleventeenth Date: The Zeppelin Zoo.[35] It premiered at two houses during the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.[35]

He was one of the many producers of the Broadway show Slava's Snowshow.[36]

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 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."[37]

In December 2013, Gordon-Levitt announced his involvement as a producer on a film adaptation of the critically acclaimed graphic novel series The Sandman. He will produce for the Warner Bros. studio, alongside David S. Goyer and Neil Gaiman, the creator of the series. Gordon-Levitt may also direct and star in the film.[38][39]

Personal life[edit]

Gordon-Levitt's older brother, Dan,[40][41] who was a photographer and fire spinner, died in 2010, when he was 36.[42]

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 '60s and '70s. 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."[43]

Gordon-Levitt explained his understanding of the concept of "true love" in a November 2013 promotional interview for Don Jon:

Well those two words can mean a lot of different things. You mean, the Princess Bride version of true love? Do you mean the Sleepless in Seattle version of true love? Um, I would say true love means a genuine and unique connection between two unique individuals. What I think true love is not, is some shiny trophy that's the same "riding off into the sunset" image that you can get. I don't think ... if you think about true love as something that you're after, that you can have, um, you're missing it.[44]


Main article: HitRecord
IndustryCreative industry: film, music, publishing
FoundersJoseph Gordon-Levitt
Dan Gordon-Levitt
OwnersJoseph Gordon-Levitt
WebsiteOfficial website

HitRecord (pronounced /ˈhɪt rɨˈkɔrd/; often stylized as hitREC●rd) is an online collaborative production company founded and owned by actor and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The production company uses video, music, literature, photography, performance, spoken word, screenwriting, graphic art, etc. from different artists around the world to make various projects and workings such as short films, books, and DVDs.[45] 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.



1988Stranger on My LandRounderTelevision film
1989Settle the ScoreJustinTelevision film
1991ChangesMatthew "Matt" HallamTelevision film
1991Hi Honey – I'm DeadJosh StadlerTelevision film
1991PlymouthSimonTelevision film
1992BeethovenStudent No. 1
1992River Runs Through It, AA River Runs Through ItYoung Norman
1993Gregory KGregory KingsleyTelevision film
1994Holy MatrimonyZeke
1994RoadflowerRich Lerolland
1994Angels in the OutfieldRoger Bomman
1995Great Elephant Escape, TheThe Great Elephant EscapeMatthewTelevision film
1996Juror, TheThe JurorOliver Laird
1998Sweet JaneTony
1998Halloween H20: 20 Years LaterJimmy Howell
199910 Things I Hate About YouCameron James
2000Picking Up the PiecesFlaco
2000Forever LuluMartin Ellsworth
2001ManicLyle Jensen
2002Treasure PlanetJim Hawkins (voice)
2003Latter DaysElder Paul Ryder
2004Mysterious SkinNeil McCormick
2005BrickBrendan Frye
2005ShadowboxerDr. Don
2007Lookout, TheThe LookoutChris Pratt
2008Stop-LossTommy Burgess
2008Miracle at St. AnnaTim Boyle
2008Brothers Bloom, TheThe Brothers BloomBar PatronUncredited
2009KillshotRichie Nix
2009Big BreaksTodd SterlingShort film
2009(500) Days of SummerTom Hansen
2009Women in TroubleBert Rodriguez
2009G.I. Joe: The Rise of CobraThe Doctor/Rex
2010Morgan M. Morgansen's Date with DestinyMorgan M. Morgansen / NarratorShort film, also director and editor
2010Elektra LuxxBert Rodriguez
2010Morgan and Destiny's Eleventeenth DateMorgan M. Morgansen / NarratorShort film, also director and editor
201150/50Adam Lerner
2012The Dark Knight RisesJohn Blake
2012Premium RushWilee
2012LooperJoeAlso executive producer
2012LincolnRobert Todd Lincoln
2013Don JonJon "Don Jon" MartelloAlso director and writer
2014The Wind RisesJiro Horikoshi (voice)English dub[46]
2014Sin City: A Dame to Kill ForJohnny
2015The WalkPhilippe PetitPost-production
2015Untitled Christmas Eve projectFilming


1988Family TiesDougie2 episodes
1990Murder, She WroteBoy No. 1Episode: "Shear Madness"
1991Dark ShadowsDaniel Collins / David Collins11 episodes
1991China BeachArchie Winslow, age 9Episode: "Quest"
1991Quantum LeapKyleEpisode: "Permanent Wave"
1991L.A. LawRick BergEpisode: "Lose the Law"
1992Powers That Be, TheThe Powers That BePierce Van Horne13 episodes
1993Dr. Quinn, Medicine WomanZack LawsonEpisode: "The Secret"
1993RoseanneGeorge4 episodes
1996–20013rd Rock from the SunTommy Solomon131 episodes
1998That '70s ShowBuddy MorganEpisode: "Eric's Buddy"
2000Outer Limits, TheThe Outer LimitsZachEpisode: "Something About Harry"
2005Numb3rsScott ReynoldsEpisode: "Sacrifice"
Saturday Night LiveHost"Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Dave Matthews Band"
"Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Mumford & Sons"
2013Lady Gaga and the Muppets' Holiday SpectacularHimselfSpecial
2014–presentHitRecord on TVHostAlso executive producer

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt" is his full name and Los Angeles, California, is his birthplace. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California.
  2. ^ "On this day: Joseph Gordon Levitt is born". 
  3. ^ "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1247). February 22, 2013. p. 32. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ Ashley Baylen (April 20, 2012). "Top 50 Hottest Jewish Men (10–1)". Shalom Life. Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  6. ^ Dovey, Rachel. "Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Hollywood's Boy Wonder Grows Up", Paste, October 11, 2010.
  7. ^ Roderick, Kevin. "Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives shout out to KPFK", LA Observed, September 29, 2011.
  8. ^ McCafferty, Dennis; Alan Carter; Lydia Strohl (April 2, 1999). "Favorites of a Young Rock Star". USA Today, through Rome News-Tribune. Retrieved July 9, 2010. 
  9. ^ Elkin, Michael (May 22, 2003). "He has a Mania for Good Works". The Jewish Exponent. Retrieved April 28, 2010. ; transcribed text
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lidz, Frank (March 25, 2007). "From Alien Boy to Growing Star in the Indie Universe". The New York Times. Retrieved March 26, 2007. 
  11. ^ Mueller, Matt (2008). "Hey Joe". Wonderland Magazine. Archived from the original on May 8, 2008. Retrieved July 22, 2010. 
  12. ^ Kirkland, Bruce (August 18, 2012). "Gordon-Levitt riding fast to fame". The Toronto Sun. Retrieved August 21, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c d Chonin, Neva (March 25, 2007). "Look out: his star is rising". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 26, 2007. 
  14. ^ Hirschberg, Lynn (September 16, 2007). "Kid Rock". The New York Times. Retrieved February 28, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Treasure Planet Interview". BBC News. BBC Online. February 4, 2003. Retrieved September 9, 2010. 
  16. ^ a b c d Roberts, Sheila (March 24, 2007). "Joseph Gordon-Levitt Interview, The Lookout". MoviesOnline. Archived from the original on March 29, 2007. Retrieved March 26, 2007. 
  17. ^ Fjerstad, Tatum (April 6, 2006). "This film's too cool for school — in a good way". The Minnesota Daily. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved March 26, 2007. 
  18. ^ Wright, Andrew (April 6, 2006). "On Screen". The Stranger: Seattle's Only Newspaper. Retrieved March 26, 2007. 
  19. ^ a b c "Joseph Gordon-Levitt". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster Inc. Retrieved September 9, 2010. 
  20. ^ Rea, Steven (March 25, 2007). "On Movies: 'Lookout' can't be called an overnight success". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on October 24, 2007. Retrieved March 26, 2007. 
  21. ^ Edelstein, David (March 25, 2007). "A Terrible Thing to Waste". New York Magazine. Retrieved March 26, 2007. 
  22. ^ Zacharek, Stephanie (July 19, 2009). "(500) Days of Summer". Salon. Retrieved July 20, 2009. 
  23. ^ McCarthy, Todd (January 18, 2009). "500 Days of Summer". Variety. Retrieved July 20, 2009. 
  24. ^ Travers, Peter (July 16, 2009). "(500) Days of Summer". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 20, 2009. 
  25. ^ "The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards Nominations". Golden [dead link]
  26. ^ Brian Jacks (September 4, 2008). "'G.I. Joe' Movie Will Reveal 'Twisted' Cobra Commander; Mask And Menacing Voice Included". MTV Movies Blog. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  27. ^ Stanhope, Kate (October 31, 2009). "January Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt to Host SNL, along with Dave Matthews Band as the musical guest.". TV Guide. Retrieved November 2, 2009. 
  28. ^ Vozick-Levinson, Simon (April 24, 2009). "Joseph Gordon-Levitt replaces James Franco in 'Inception'". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner Inc. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  29. ^ "'The Dark Knight Rises': Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard's Parts Revealed". The Huffington Post. April 29, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2011. 
  30. ^ Flemming, Mike (May 14, 2010). "CANNES: Bruce Willis Plays Mature Joseph Gordon-Levitt In Time Travel Pic 'Looper'". Deadline Hollywood. Media Corporation. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  31. ^ Fischer, Russ (May 5, 2011). "Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ Casts Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Many More". Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  32. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (January 7, 2013). "Joseph Gordon-Levitt Joins ‘Sin City: A Dame To Kill For’". Movieline. Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Marvel Likes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Paul Rudd for ‘Ant-Man’ (EXCLUSIVE)". October 14, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  34. ^ "2009 Sundance Film Festival Announces Short Film Program". Sundance Film Festival. December 8, 2008. 
  35. ^ a b Bettinger, Brendan (August 9, 2010). "Watch Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum in the Short Film Morgan And Destiny's Eleventeenth Date: The Zeppelin Zoo". Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  36. ^ Cox, Gordon (December 12, 2008). "Ticket brokers try to catch a break". Variety. Retrieved January 1, 2010. 
  37. ^ Daniel Miller; Tatiana Siegel (January 21, 2013). "Sundance 2013: Relativity Acquiring 'Don Jon's Addiction' for $4 Million". The Hollywood Reporter. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Joseph Gordon-Levitt Eyeing ‘Sandman’ As Director And Star, Producing With David Goyer At Warner Bros". Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm incredibly honored to be working with David Goyer, Warner Bros, and @neilhimself on SANDMAN. #Prelude". Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  40. ^ Warner, Kara (October 6, 2010). "Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Brother Dead At 36". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  41. ^ Lang, Bret; Walker, Hunter (October 5, 2010). "Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Brother, 'Burning Dan,' Dies". The Wrap. The Wrap News Inc. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  42. ^ Gordinier, Jeff (August 2010). "Joseph Gordon-Levitt Comes of Age". Details. 
  43. ^ John Brougher (October 8, 2013). "I'm a male feminist. No, seriously (slide number 3)". CNN. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  44. ^ Henry Barnes (November 12, 2013). "Don Jon star Joseph Gordon-Levitt: 'True love isn't some shiny trophy' - video interview" (Video upload). The Guardian. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  45. ^ "hitRECord – About Us". Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
  46. ^ Cunningham, Todd (August 27, 2013). "Disney Will Release Hayao Mayazaki's 'The Wind Rises' in U.S.". The Wrap. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 

External links[edit]