I often find myself marveling at Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s acting career. After all we are about the same age, he is 31, I am 29, and I grew up watching him on television.
Now, It’s almost hard to believe that he was Tommy Soloman, the ultra intelligent old alien stuck in a teenagers body, on 3rd Rock from the Sun. But it wasn’t just the TV show I remember about Gordon-Levitt, it was the honorable somewhat dorky early film roles. What kid didn’t see Angels in the Outfield in 1994? I can still see Joseph Gordon-Levitt flapping his arms up and down like an Angel while looking up to all his famous or soon to be famous co-stars: Danny Glover, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd, Adrien Brody, Matthew McConaughey, and Neal McDonough.
Then a few years later in 1999 he starred opposite Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger in one of
my first date movies, 10 Things I Hate About You. In the modernization of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Gordon-Levitt plays Cameron James the nobody new kid trying to get the most popular girl is school. And after you watched the film you said, “You know that Heath Ledger just might be a star one day and that Joseph Gordon-Levitt might get another… Wait for it….. TV show.”
He seemed tailor-made for all of the characters I’ve written about above and in my mind he was already typecast as the lovable underdog who might get the girl at the end if the better looking man turns out to be a big enough asshole.
That would all change in 2001, when Gordon-Levitt, said screw it, I’ll go indie if I have to, in order to get the roles I want, and played juvenile delineate and head case Lyle in Manic. And suddenly the sweet boy wasn’t so sweet anymore and F-bombs begun to drop from his mouth like saliva after a 10K run. Your reaction? “That is the kid from Angels in the Outfield and 30 Rock From The Sun? Wow, maybe this kid can really act.”
He would take on several more roles like Lyle from Manic over the next few years before really putting his career on the fast track with Rain Johnson’s “Brick.” This is the film that permanently put Joseph Gordan-Levitt on the fast track to acting career adulthood. His portrayal of Brendan Frye in this high-school noir was wonderfully cinematic, empathetic, and redefining. In Brick he really found his rhythm. In the film he played to type and against type at the same time. Yes, at his best, part of him would always be the lovable guy trying to get the girl i.e. (500) Days of Summer and 50/50, but from “Brick” on he would only do it with an edge or under the right cinematic circumstances.
In the meantime, he has elevated his career to heights I couldn’t have imagine in 1999. Since the year 2010 he has been in six productions: Inception, 50/50, The Dark Knight Rises, Looper, Lincoln, and Premium Rush. Take a look at that list, if you don’t get it yet, I can’t help you. For Joseph Gordon Levitt skies the limits. As he enters his acting prime at the age of 31, I can’t wait to see what he will do next and I would bet long money that by the time he is 40, he will have an Academy Award on his mantle.
Here is the New Trailer to Premium Rush
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