In ‘Mr. Corman,’ Joseph Gordon-Levitt Looks Inward and Asks, ‘What If?’


Acting eventually won his heart: From 2007 to 2016, he was part of at least one favorable-reviewed film every year, including Christopher Nolan’s visually arresting scene as Leonardo DiCaprio’s right-hand man in “Inception.” Involved in piracy performances and as a young contract killer. In Rian Johnson’s 2012 time-travel epic, “Looper”.

His colleagues are among the biggest Hollywood giants: Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, Robert Zemeckis. He added Aaron Sorkin to the list last year by playing the controversial young prosecutor in “The Trial of the Chicago 7”.

Zemeckis, who directed Gordon-Levitt as French high-wire artist Philippe Petit in “The Walk” in 2015, said Gordon-Levitt had a singular commitment to immersion. Before filming began, Gordon-Levitt trained with Petit in a warehouse for eight straight days—and learned to walk on a string.

Zemeckis was amazed.

“Going in, I had planned it all,” Zemeckis outlined his designs for staging Petit’s Walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. Where the artist was actually walking on a big, thick blue-screen plank that we would remove and put strings under his feet.”

“But it was so much more spectacular when he could actually do it from 12 feet up!”

Gordon-Levitt was also learning behind the camera. He directed his first feature film, the romantic comedy “Don John,” in 2013, in which he played a pornography addict who can’t deal with his bedridden, breathing women. The film was a critical and commercial success – and left him with a taste for more.

But he knew he had more to master.

“I’ve become more cooperative since then,” he said. “One thing I’ve noticed is that great directors have the ability to balance their vision with the input of others.”



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