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There are times when it is difficult to follow the career of an actor: the busier he gets, the more there is to watch. It is becoming increasingly expensive to keep up with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as his CV continues to grow. He has been acting a long time–twenty-five of his thirty years–in which time he has established a history of memorable roles in memorable films and received over a dozen nominations and awards. He is starring in ‘50/50,’ out now, and will appear in at least five releases next year.
Mr. Gordon-Levitt impressed a lot of people, even as a toddler, but real fame knocked with his TV role as Tommy Solomon in ‘3rd Rock from the Sun’ (1996-2001). He held his own with such stars as John Lithgow, even though he was only 15 in the first series. After that, most of his roles were in film, and he has made a surprising number of good decisions in the roles he has chosen.
He became an indie-film prince, exercising his acting muscles in a variety of roles: as a homosexual hustler in ‘Mysterious Skin’ (2004), a leading man in the arguably-romantic comedy ‘(500) Days of Summer’ (2009), a megalomaniacal baddie in ‘G.I. Joe’ (2009), and an action-star in ‘Inception’ (2010). ‘50/50’ sees him as a young man battling his odds with cancer.
What sets Mr. Gordon-Levitt apart is the number of arrows in his quiver. His acting is solid, he nails comedy, the drama is compelling, and he can convey the message in an expression or through his delivery. He can also sing, dance, direct and write. He established a web-site to collaborate on projects with other artists called www.hitRECord.org.
His rendition of ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ on Saturday Night Live (2009), complete with gymnastics, surpasses most performances by a host in that long series. He did most of his own stunts in ‘Inception’s’ complicated fight-scenes.
There have been comparisons to Heath Ledger; they even starred as brothers in ’10 Things I Hate About You.’ He has the intensity and the range. He will be in the follow-up ‘Batman,’ though not replacing Mr. Ledger. Next year alone, he will be working with Spielberg, Tarantino and Nolan. This is impressive company, certainly.
Mr. Gordon-Levitt is accomplished, adored and amiable. He can be serious and he can laugh. He jokes, takes the lead and defers. He is generous with praise, and modest. He is polite. He could be the “nice young man” of whom parents would approve for their daughters; he has a depth of which the daughters would approve for themselves.
He sparred with Zooey Deschanel in ‘(500) Days of Summer,’ and stole the film from the “it-girl.” His dance routine elevates the film above most romantic fare. One begins to wonder if there is anything Joseph Gordon-Levitt cannot master. It is a relief and a pleasure to learn that there is an actor with real depth for two generations.
He is a ladies’ man and a man’s man, with great range and many facets. There will be many more opportunities to see his work, next year and beyond.