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Joseph Gordon-Levitt Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (28)  | Personal Quotes (44)

Overview (4)

Born in Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameJoseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt
Nicknames Joe
Joey
JGL
Regular Joe
Height 5' 9¼" (1.76 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has completed production on the untitled Henry Joost/Ariel Schulman sci-fi film for Netflix in which he stars opposite Jamie Foxx and on the independent thriller, 7500, written and directed by Patrick Vollarth. Among his other projects, he is in development on a variety of feature films including Fraggle Rock. Gordon-Levitt's additional film credits include the following: Oliver Stone's Snowden; The Walk, directed by Robert Zemeckis in which he portrayed Philippe Pettit; The Night Before, directed by Jonathan Levine, starring opposite Seth Rogen and Anthony Mackie; Don Jon, opposite Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore, which he wrote (Independent Spirit Award-nominee for Best First Screenplay) and was his feature film directorial debut; the English-language version of Hayao Miyazaki's Academy Award-nominated animated feature THThe Wind Rises, for which he provided the voice of lead character Jiro Horikoshi; Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, in which he played Johnny, a character Miller created for the film; Steven Spielberg's Oscar-nominated Lincoln with Daniel Day Lewis and Sally Field; Looper, for which he reunited with his BRICK director, Rian Johnson, and starred opposite Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt; The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan's third and final installment in the Batman series (People's Choice Award nomination for Favorite Movie Actor); Premium Rush, directed by David Koepp; 50/50, directed by Jonathan Levine and also starring Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination; Christopher Nolan's Academy Award-nominated action-drama Inception, also starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard and Ellen Page; Hesher, directed by Spencer Susser with Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson (Sundance Film Festival 2010); Marc Webb's (500) Days for Summer, also starring Zooey Deschanel, for which he received Golden Globe, Independent Spirit Award and People's Choice Award nominations; the global action hit G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra for director Stephen Sommers; Spike Lee's World War II drama Miracle at St. Anna; the controversial drama Stop-Loss, in which he starred with Ryan Phillippe under the direction of Kimberly Peirce; and the crime drama The Lookout, which marked Scott Frank's directorial debut. In addition, Gordon-Levitt has received widespread praise for his performances in such independent features as John Madden's Killshot with Diane Lane and Mickey Rourke; Lee Daniels' Shadowboxer; Rian Johnson's award-winning debut film, Brick; Mysterious Skin for writer/director Gregg Araki; and Manic with Don Cheadle. He also adapted the Elmore Leonard short story Sparks into a 24-minute short film that he directed (Sundance Film Festival 2009). Early in his career, Gordon-Levitt won a Young Artist Award for his first major role, in Robert Redford's drama A River Runs Through It. He went on to co-star in Angels in the Outfield, The Juror, Halloween H2O and 10 Things I Hate About You. Gordon-Levitt is also well known to television audiences for his starring role on NBC's award-winning comedy series "3rd Rock from the Sun." During his six seasons on the show, he won two YoungStar Awards and also shared in three Screen Actors Guild Award® nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Comedy Series Ensemble. Following the series, Gordon-Levitt took a short break from acting to attend Columbia University. Gordon-Levitt founded and directs HITRECORD, an open collaborative production. HITRECORD creates and develops art and media collectively using their website where anyone with an internet connection can upload their records, download and remix others' records, and work on projects together. When the results of these RECords are produced and make money, HITRECORD splits the profits 50/50 with everybody who contributed to the final production. HITRECORD has published books, put out records, gone on tour and has screened their work at major festivals including Sundance and TIFF. The half hour variety program, "Hit Record on TV with Joseph Gordon-Levitt," which included short films, live performances, music, animation, conversation and more, earned an Emmy Award for Creative Achievement in Interactive Media - Social TV Experience. HITRECORD's latest project, "Band Together with Logic", is a one-hour YouTube Originals special that sees Grammy-nominated rapper Logic open up his creative process like never before, inviting the world to collaborate with him on an original song and music video. In 2016, the ACLU honored Gordon-Levitt with their annual Bill of Rights Award for furthering diversity efforts, promoting free speech, empowering women and otherwise supporting civil rights and liberties for all Americans.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: JG

Spouse (1)

Tasha McCauley (20 December 2014 - present) ( 2 children)

Trade Mark (3)

Dimples and youthful, boyish looks
Frequently wears the hitRECord logo button during public appearences
His hitRECord-catchphrase: "Are we recording?"

Trivia (28)

Joseph's parents, Jane Gordon and Dennis Levitt, met as political activists in California. Gordon ran for Congress, in 1970, with the Peace and Freedom Party. Both are founders of the Progressive Jewish Alliance.
Graduated from Van Nuys High School with honors in June 1999.
Began acting at the age of six with auditioning and landing small roles in commercials and television until he landed his breakout role in 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996).
Joseph's paternal grandfather, Milton Levitt, was born Milton Levitz in Ohio; Milton's father, Louis Levitz, was a Russian Jewish immigrant, and Milton's mother, Fraudel "Fannie" Isaacson, was born in 1894, in then-Ottoman Palestine, to a Russian Jewish family (that wave of movement to the area was known as the "First Aliyah"). Joseph's paternal grandmother, Celia Roth, was born in Pennsylvania, to Polish Jewish parents. Joseph's maternal grandfather, Michael Gordon, was born Irving Kunin Gordon in Maryland, to a Jewish family from Lithuania and Russia, while Joseph's maternal grandmother, Elizabeth A. Cohn, was born in Ohio, to a Romanian Jewish father and a Russian Jewish mother. Joseph's grandfather Michael Gordon was a prominent Hollywood film director, who directed such classic films as Cyrano de Bergerac (1950), Pillow Talk (1959), Portrait in Black (1960), and many others. His career was crippled when he was blacklisted during the McCarthy-era "Red Scare" panic that swept the US in the 1950s.
After spending six seasons on 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996), he attended Columbia University in New York City. He studied history, literature and French poetry.
Auditioned for the role of Elder Aaron Davis in Latter Days (2003) before winning the role of Elder Paul Ryder.
His favorite actors include Daniel Day-Lewis, Warren Oates, Gary Oldman, and Gena Rowlands.
He appeared in a preschool production of "The Wizard of Oz" before he began acting professionally.
Was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, but moved to New York City after attending college at Columbia University.
Good friends with Mysterious Skin (2004) co-star, Michelle Trachtenberg.
Was ranked #6 on Entertainment Weekly's '30 Under 30' the actors list (2008).
Had an older brother, Dan Gordon-Levitt, who passed away in October 2010. He was a photographer and a world-renowned fire spinner.
Joseph was nominated for a Tony Award in 2009 for Best Special Theatrical Event with his fellow producers of the Broadway show "Slava's Snowshow".
Originally, James Franco was set to play the role of Arthur in Inception (2010); however, due to scheduling conflicts, James was forced to drop out of the film and the director of the film, Christopher Nolan, later gave the role to Joseph.
Enjoys playing the drums and the guitar.
Joseph is often said to bear a striking resemblance to his 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) co-star, Heath Ledger. Both actors also played significant roles in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy with Heath as Batman's nemesis, The Joker, in The Dark Knight (2008) and Joseph as Batman's ally, Officer John Blake, in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
He has said that he has been told many times by producers that he needed to pack on some weight because he appeared "too skinny" on screen. He did bulk up recently, but only to more greatly resemble a young Bruce Willis in their film Looper (2012).
Speaks French.
He is entirely of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.
Beijing, China: Filming his movie Looper (2012). [April 2011]
London, England, United Kingdom: Filming The Dark Knight Rises (2012). [May 2011]
When Marion Cotillard was honored at Hollywood Film Festival in 2012, he presented the tribute to her in French, Cotillard's native language. Levitt and Cotillard were co-stars in Inception (2010) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
Grew up with Beverley Mitchell. They attended the same acting class for many years as aspiring child actors.
He has appeared in five projects that featured a number in the titles: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996), 500 Days of Summer (2009) and 50/50 (2011).
Has starred in three films with good friends Channing Tatum and Anne Hathaway. He and Tatum starred in Stop-Loss (2008) and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009). He and Hathaway starred in Havoc (2000) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and all three of them starred together in Don Jon (2013) (which Levitt wrote and directed).
He and his good friend Zooey Deschanel starred in two films together: Manic (2001) and 500 Days of Summer (2009).
Always wears colorful, mismatched socks as a tribute to his late brother.

Personal Quotes (44)

The whole concept of celebrity pisses me off. While I'm not a celebrity, it's such a weird concept that society has cooked up for us. Astronauts and teachers are much more amazing than actors.
Most scripts are bad. I read a lot of them. Brick (2005) was a good script just to read. It was like, "Oh my God, these words feel so good in my mouth". A lot of movies try to set up a world with cool sets, costumes, camera work. In Brick (2005), the world is born from the words.
To me, a sex scene in a movie generally means a gratuitous scene that doesn't serve the story but gives a kind of excuse; we've got these two actors, we want to see them naked, so let's bring in the music and the soft light.
Actors didn't use to be celebrities. A hundred years ago, they put the theaters next to the brothels. Actors were poor. Celebrities used to be kings and queens. Then the United States abolished monarchy, and now there's this coming together of show business and celebrity. I don't think it's healthy. I don't want to sound self-important, but all these celebrity shows and magazines--it comes from us, from Hollywood, from our country. We're the ones creating it. And I think it works in close step with a lot of other bad things that are happening in the world. It promotes greed, it promotes being selfish and it promotes this ladder, where you're a better person if you have more money. It's not at all about the work itself. Don't get me wrong. I love movies. But this myth of celebrity has nothing to do with movies.
[in 2004, about Mysterious Skin (2004)] At the heart of the movie, to me, is there's these two characters that can have one horrible, traumatic experience but react to it in opposite ways and it shows how different people see things differently. Well, today, there's a president in my country that doesn't understand that and he thinks that if you don't see it exactly his way, you're wrong and evil. And that's not the way the world works. There can be one event but everybody who sees it sees it a little different or sees it a lot different and that's what the movies about and that's what damn "Dubya" [President George W. Bush] needs to understand. Or let him not understand it and go about his ways and go back to his ranch and never bother us again.
[on his parents' political activism as youths] My dad never blew anything up, but he probably had friends who did. He and my mom have always preached that the pen is mightier than a Molotov cocktail.
I don't blame the people for the fact that so many movies are bad. I think there's a corrupt, perverted, lazy and sloppy attitude that's pervasive in the movie business. The whole entertainment business is kind of crumbling around us.
Success is not important to me, nor are power or money. If the script feels good, then I'm in. It's that simple.
My advantage is that I know the system. Big budgets don't impress me. They might've done [that] when I was 13, but I've been working since I was six.
One of the hardest things about playing a soldier is kinda acknowledging that I've never done, and might never do anything that brave.
The Lookout (2007) was by far the hardest thing I've ever done. Partially because both Brick (2005) and Mysterious Skin (2004) were four- to five-week shoots, and "The Lookout" was nine or ten. So there's the marathon aspect, as well as the fact that Chris Pratt is having a harder go of it than either of the other two characters ever did. You know, waking up in the morning is difficult for him. Putting a sentence together is difficult for him. Getting dressed properly, driving a car, all these things. He can do them fine, but it's just much harder than it is for a normal person, so I had to try to make it hard for myself somehow. So it was challenging.
[About the violence in Mysterious Skin (2004)] All that violence is there to tell a story that comes from an honest and genuine place, and that's what's important.
I've played the smart kid, the funny one, the nice sweet one, even the angry one, but never the sexy one.
It's a very ritualized practice: First they say "Rolling" and then they say "Speed" and then they say "Marker" they clap the marker, then the camera says "Set", then the director says "Action". I've heard that sequence of words ever since I was six years old. It's powerful. I need that.
That's what life is: repetitive routines. It's a matter of finding the balance between deviating from those patterns and knowing when to repeat them.
The traditional Hollywood sentiment is contempt for the audience. I've heard executives say, "Audiences are stupid, kids are stupid", but that's not going to fly anymore. I think [Barack Obama] is great evidence of that. This is maybe a sort of pretentious parallel to draw, but it's the same with how love stories are told in movies. 500 Days of Summer (2009) wouldn't have made sense in our parents' generation. It reminds me so much of 2009.
Most love stories that are told in Hollywood are just bullshit, and everyone knows it. You go there expecting to be sold a bill of goods that you know is wrong. And sometimes you go anyway, like if a girl drags you or something.
I've had a select set of really beautiful, powerful, psychedelic experiences on certain drugs but I never got into just doing it at a party: "Oh let's get fucked up and drop acid". That's so retarded and disrespectful to your body and the drug itself. Mushrooms, acid and ecstasy can offer you a new perspective. They can also offer you nothing.
I just feel really lucky to get to do what I do and I love it. I love acting, I love making movies and that's why I do it. This is a job which I try to get involved with as much as I can. The movies I watch are being made by film lovers. That's the thing about Uncertainty (2008). All that "Uncertainty" has going for it is the film itself. We don't have an advertisement budget or something; it's really just made by people who love movies for people who love movies . . . I'm happy to get to talk to someone like you who obviously really loves movies for the movies themselves because some of the other ways that tend to putting audiences into a movie have less to do with an actual movie and more to do with all sort of other marketing.
I take that as a big compliment for you to say that that you thought of me as an indie guy just because it took a long time to get anybody to think of me that way 'cause I was on a TV show for so long [laughs]. But yeah, I mean, to me, I don't really make such a distinction based on indie or studio or any of that. What's important to me is the work itself, the script, the other people I'm collaborating, and I think that kind of could happen to me in the big studio world and it could happen in the indie world. I got just done working for [Christopher Nolan], which was a real honor. He brings as much artistic integrity to what he's doing as anybody and he's making these enormous, enormous studio movies. Then there's Uncertainty (2008), where they bring the same artistic integrity to it. There's the other way on both sides. There's plenty of low-budget indie movies that are kinda doing it for the wrong reasons just like there's some great, huge studio movies.
Hesher (2010) is easily one of the most fun parts I've ever gotten to play, because he is really liberated from a lot of the anxieties and stresses that we all carry around. So to play the part right, I have to do that, and it was liberating.
I'm lucky enough, I made money on television when I was young, so I don't have to do parts to support myself. I just do stuff because it'll be fun and challenge me.
My favorite kinds of actors are the chameleons, like Daniel Day-Lewis or Peter Sellers, people like that. To me, the highest compliment you can pay to an actor is, "Man, I didn't recognize you". So yeah, Hesher (2010) is really different from "Tom" in 500 Days of Summer (2009) and you know, that's what keeps it spicy for me.
I just love to act. It's my favorite thing to do in the world, and what keeps it interesting to me is the creative challenge. So different kinds of characters, that's what I just love to do.
Acting's really difficult to talk about. If you could talk about it so easily then you wouldn't have to act.
To be honest, I sort of feel like "movie actor" isn't of this time. I love it. But it's a 20th-century art form.
The most valiant thing you can do as an artist is inspire someone else to be creative.
[on facing fame and the paparazzi] Look, I've met some nice guys who take pictures like that. I don't want to demonize anybody. But I do think that this notion that certain people are in a higher class than other people is unhealthy. We would be healthier as a people if we quit paying attention to that kind of bullshit and paid more attention to more pertinent things and more beautiful things.
I spent a lot of time--most of my days--thinking about what it would be like to be facing death while I was shooting 50/50 (2011). But to be honest, I think about that all the time anyway.
[on his transition from television to film work] I'm sure luck has a lot to do with it, I wouldn't deny that. For a while, after [3rd Rock from the Sun (1996)] no one wanted to hire me to do anything but a TV show, and I didn't really want to do that again. I'm grateful to a few filmmakers who took a chance on me, like Gregg Araki, who made Mysterious Skin (2004), or Rian Johnson, who made Brick (2005). These are guys who were able to see that I could play these other roles. I really owe them all my subsequent opportunities.
There is a quote that I think is attributed to Nelson Mandela. He said that our light is more frightening than our darkness because if you look at the darkness within yourself, you can make excuses and shirk the responsibility of having to do anything, and say, 'Well, I'm not capable'. But if you recognize the powerful light that is in yourself, that we all have within ourselves, that's scary because with that light comes a certain responsibility to live up to it and do something. I love that quote. I think about it a lot.
I'v always loved watching. I spent my whole life on sets. I started working when I was six. I always paid a lot of attention to what directors have done and what everyone else has done: what they are doing over here in the camera department or how they put together the set or what the script supervisor is up to, all these notes that they take, how is it, what is that. I really like being part of that team, being a part of something larger.
[on Don Jon (2013)] Actors in our culture do get stigmatized and treated like objects on a shelf sometimes. But I don't think it's just actors. I think everybody experiences this. You are talking to someone and you can tell they are not listening. You can tell they have already decided what you are and put you in a box with a label on it. This is what I was trying to make fun of. And I do think that the media contributes to this. That's where I came to the idea of a relationship of a young man who watches too much pornography and a young woman ho watches too many romantic Hollywood movies They've both got these unrealistic expectations that they've learned from these kinds of media they consume, and it leads them to objectify people or not to connect.
[in 2012, on working with Christian Bale on The Dark Knight Rises (2012)] We had a fucking great time every day working on that movie. I felt as though I'd transferred in for senior year and had a graduation celebration. You felt a huge sense of accomplishment and closure. Everyone on that movie did such good, dignified work. No one came to phone it in or just cash a check.
[in 2012] As a teenager in the 1990s I loved the spike of indie films coming through Sundance, and films like Pulp Fiction (1994), Big Night (1996), Sling Blade (1996), Trees Lounge (1996) and Swingers (1996). Had I said to my agents at the time that I wanted to do that stuff, they would have said, "You're making a ton of money doing TV, and that's what you're going to do." I went to school, quit acting for a while, and when I came back everyone wanted me to do another TV show and make more money. I didn't want to. I made a decision that I was going to do only work that inspired me creatively, not what was supposed to be good for my career.
[in (2012] Being on TV when I was a teenager in high school was way harder than anything I've experienced since. It prepared me for what it is to work in pop culture. I've learned I have basically two different interactions with people. I love when someone approaches me and tells me they've seen me in something that made them feel something and that they connected to it. That's part of why I do it. The other interaction is with people who really don't care about the movies or anything like that. They just sort of buy into the fame thing, and that feels icky to me.
[in 2012] I wouldn't say I was a normal kid. I'd say I was a lucky little kid, because unfortunately it's not normal to have extraordinarily good parents who love and support you. I played baseball, did gymnastics, took piano lessons and started acting as just another one of the things I did. I wasn't pressured into it. But it was acting I loved. I had a really cool acting teacher who taught us how to become a character, to be realistic and feel those feelings, so I hated being expected to behave like an idiot in TV commercials because they seem to think that's what sells toys or whatever.
[in 2012] I remember on Beethoven (1992) we weren't allowed to pet the dog because it would have distracted him. For a dog lover that was disappointing and weird.
I find that humor is often times the best way to get at substantial themes and questions--but to do so in a really entertaining and engaging way. Something everybody can connect to. Take Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), one of my favorite movies of all time. And it's dealing with very serious issues. But it's hilarious.
To me what's important is not the budget of the movie or where the money came from, whether it came from Warner Brothers or Voltage Pictures. What's important for me is the intention of the filmmaker and the spirit on set and what the movie's about and why we are all making it.
If you want to talk about an immoral movie, those are the movies that are just blindly reinforcing these clichés of love at first sight, first kiss . . . get married and ride off together into the sunset. It's systematically ruining people's lives.
The thing Chris [Christopher Nolan] has in common with all the filmmakers I've loved--Rian Johnson, Steven Spielberg, Marc Webb--is that they have a thorough plan, but are also open to spontaneity. That happens all day as a director. Someone tells you things have changed, and you have to answer it. Spielberg is one of the great imitated filmmakers.
[in 2015] To me, having worked in both low-budget films and bigger-budget studio films, the important thing is actually not the budget. The important thing is the motivation of the filmmaker, and everyone who is working for the filmmaker. You can find indie movies that are just sort of being derivative and trying to make a name for themselves, and you can also find studio movies with a real sincere heart. It's really more about the individual people than the budget or the corporate infrastructure.
[on the conclusion of The Dark Knight trilogy] I know we're all used to the sort of Marvel movies, which are just kind of endless series they don't really have a beginning, middle, and end. But I think Christopher Nolan very much thought of The Dark Knight Rises as a conclusion, and there's a theme that runs through all three of those movies that begins in the first movie, runs through the second movie, and it concludes in that moment where he says that Batman is more than a man, Batman is a symbol and so to have another man other than Bruce Wayne kind of becoming Batman at the end of that trilogy, I think that's the perfect ending to that story.

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