Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s meteoric rise to fame since 3rd Rock from the Sun
Joseph Gordon Levitt, right now is the equivalent of quality chocolate cake; everybody wants a piece. Bad pun, but true story. The boy who you might remember as the annoying little shit in Ten Things I Hate About You or more likely as Tommy Solomon in 3rd Rock From The Sun has matured into Hollywood’s latest craze. Every role out there looks like it’s been custom written for him, and he’s cashing in shrewdly, expanding his portfolio with Nolan, Bruce Willis, and Daniel Day Lewis all names for the autograph book. It’s a meteoric rise for the man who may or may not be the next Batman, but it is a rise that he richly deserves.
The first thing that stands out about him is how completely sane he is. It might sound like nothing, but remember that Gordon-Levitt is from the most dangerous and arguably most maligned group in Hollywood: child actors. When you throw him in a line up next to Lindsey Lohan and Macaulay Culkin, you realise how well he’s done to stay himself. He’s naturally charming in all the interviews that he does, showcases a sense of humour that essentially endears him to the entire female population (the dance video that he does with Zooey Deschanel is a prime example) and he still seems in awe of where he has gotten in life. He loves acting, and making films, and he enjoys both more than the media attention and fame that usually comes attached with them.
It’s this genuine love for acting that has helped him hit the heights he finds himself in today. After 3rd Rock, he decided to keep his career low key and pursue the smaller, kookier roles that he could find. Having impressed those in the know with his performance in Mysterious Skin, he found himself in his first breakthrough role in Brick. Directed by Rian Johnson, the film was made on a budget of less than half a million dollars and did not look like it was going to do much commercially. But Gordon-Levitt liked the script, acted in the lead role and watched calmly as it turned into the indie sleeper hit of the year. It may not have broken box office records, but it gained immense critical and cult popularity, and made sure that he was noticed.
Even so, it was four more years till he landed the role that would catapult him into commercial stardom, when he played Tom opposite Zooey Deschanel’s eponymous character in 500 Days of Summer. It was his perfectly weighted role that garnered so much praise, his offbeat charm, his gawky smile and fantastic fumbling chemistry with Deschanel and of course, his magnificent just-got-laid dance to Hall and Oates. That was arguably the point that you could stand back and say that he really had arrived.
In typical Gordon-Levitt style, he played it cool, and didn’t do a Matthew Mcconaughey and whore himself out to what must have been a million rom-com offers coming his way. Via the misstep that was GI Joe, he suddenly found himself in Inception, and in taking on the role of Arthur, essentially completed his film CV. He had proved himself in such a wide range of roles that he was now irresistible to any and all script writers in LA. He’d played noir, he’d played romantic lead and he’d showcased action film credentials alongside Di Caprio and other rising star Tom Hardy. He was ready.
What has followed since then has been a spate of films that have only served to further his credentials, especially this year’s summer blockbuster Looper where he gets to play Bruce Willis. What more could you want? In summary, JGL is showing no signs of stopping, he’s good looking enough to make GQ, he’s quirky and cool and well liked, and he doesn’t have the decency to at least be a giant douche about it. I really hate this guy.