Subject: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 29-year old American actor
Date of Assessment: July 16, 2010
Positive Buzzwords: Diversity, initiative, everyman
Negative Buzzwords: Child star, pothead, G.I. Joe
The Case: Finally, here’s a much welcome (if temporary) break in our chain of negative assessments. After all, going against the trend is an act that’s wholeheartedly encouraged by our current subject, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (hereinafter known as “JGL”), who has overcome the Hollywood odds in a huge way. Not only has he navigated a successful move from television to movies, but he’s also conquered the former-child-star stigma (not to mention losing that awful hair) too. And as audiences have all-too-commonly observed, most child actors greet professional rejection by burying themselves within a circle of enablers before ceremoniously commencing a downward spiral of entitlement and hard drug use. Not the case where JGL is concerned.
Instead, JGL has bucked the trend by consistently working since the age of seven. His very early career included a stint on “Family Ties” and the 1991 “Dark Shadows” revival (exactly how cute was this little guy?). Then, he somehow negated the annoyance factor of Tony Danza in Angels in the Outfield before moving onto a six-year stint as the teenaged Tommy Solomon (a.k.a. “Information Officer”) in “3rd Rock from the Sun.” Many females also fondly remember JGL for his role in the modern-day Shakespearean adaptation, Ten Things I Hate About You. Since then, JGL commonly admits to enjoying occasional weedfests but has continued to take his career quite seriously. As an actor, he’s demonstrated admirable range and has proven a willingness and ability to tackle a diverse range of characters — from an AIDS patient in Sweet Jane to a homophobic Mormon thug in Latter Days to a gay hustler (and victim of childhood sexual abuse) in Mysterious Skin (as well as sharing a same-sex kiss in “That ’70s Show”). Most recently, JGL has proven that he can survive the craptastic blockbusters (G.I. Joe) with credibility battered yet still somehow intact, the twee indie films ((500) Days of Summer) as an inexplicably likable romantic male lead, and he’s now appearing in the latest Christopher Nolan flick (Inception), which shall put him into breakout territory. Early buzzings even indicate that his performance stands out amongst an ensemble cast of heavyweights (including another child star survivor, Leonardo DiCaprio), which isn’t too shabby at all for a guy who coulda been a statistic.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about JGL is that, throughout his career, he’s managed to keep his wits about himself. In interviews, he comes across as genuinely grateful for his continued career. Furthermore, even when he was a college student and budding has-been, JGL continued pounding the pavement throughout countless role rejections. Throughout what could have been the most difficult years of his career, JGL used his downtime to dream up a side project, hitRECord.org, which he continues to run from his home studio and, as RegularJOE, embodies his very own new media ethos:
“So, when I started this thing about five years ago, it was just something that I’d say to myself, like ‘C’mon get up, make something, hit record.’ Then it became a webpage, which evolved into a community, and in 2010, I turned it into a fully professional open collaborative production company. I didn’t wanna work without people from the Hollywood entertainment industry. There’s so many artists all over the world making great shit, and that’s who I wanna work with.”
AH, yes…. a man of the people. Quite simply, there’s no wonder that he’s one of the most bangable celebrities on the planet. And I have a feeling that he’ll get even better with age.
Prognosis: If you’re not already captivated by JGL’s talent and drive to succeed, put him on your shortlist of ones to watch. This guy isn’t going anywhere, and while he’s poised to join the leagues of Christian Bale, George Clooney, and Leonardo DiCaprio, JGL will also continue to do his own thing as RegularJOE. One can dream big, but making those dreams a reality is something that very few can do, which makes JGL a future legend in the making.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at agentbedhead.com.