Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt is born in Los Angeles to a Jewish family. His parents are radio news director Dennis Levitt and US Congressional candidate Jane Gordon. He has a brother named Dan, who is seven years older than him. His maternal grandfather is director Michael Gordon. At the age of four, he plays the Scarecrow in a local children’s theater production of The Wizard of Oz. About getting into acting:
I was never pressured into acting. I just genuinely liked it, like I liked gymnastics and football and Little League.
Gordon-Levitt stars in this Disney comedy remake of the 1951 film of the same name. The 13-year old actor plays Roger, a foster child who loves the dismally performing California Angels and yearns for a normal family. He begins to see angels after praying to God for his team to win so that he can have his father back. The actor is joined by Christopher Lloyd as head angel Al, Danny Glover as Angels manager George Knox, and Tony Danza as Angels pitcher Mel Clark.
Gordon-Levitt plays an extraterrestrial named Tommy Solomon in the American sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. As the Information Officer, his character is the oldest and most intelligent among the aliens in the expedition, but he is assigned the body of a teenaged boy who goes to high school. The actor appears in 131 episodes.
Gordon-Levitt stars in this teen romantic-comedy film directed by Gil Junger. He plays Cameron James, a sweet young man who pursues popular girl Bianca Stratford, played by actress Larisa Oleynik. Loosely based on the Shakespeare classic The Taming of the Shrew, the film revolves around the romances of two sisters with contrasting personalities. The actor’s role is inspired by the character Lucentio. His co-cast members include Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Andrew Keegan, and Larry Miller.
Gordon-Levitt lends his voice to this Disney animated sci-fi film as protagonist Jim Hawkins. This teenage adventurer comes across a pirate’s map that leads to Treasure Planet. Riding a space galleon, he uses the map to guide him in his journey across the magical world. He encounters various characters in his adventure including cyborg pirate John Silver, voiced by South African actor Brian Murray.
Gordon-Levitt portrays a rage-filled teenager named Lyle Jensen in Jordan Melamed’s directorial debut. This drama film follows the story of Lyle as he is put in a psychiatric ward for violently attacking a classmate. In the hospital, he begins to deal with his anger issues as he interacts with other patients. Zooey Deschanel is Lyle’s love interest and Don Cheadle is the counselor.
I spent a lot of time with people who had been in hospitals just like this. I didn’t get to go into a hospital like [the one in the movie] because I think that would be rude and intrusive – and we weren’t allowed to. I went to support groups and halfway houses. We talked to a lot of people.
Gordon-Levitt stars in this drama film based on a novel by Scott Heim and directed by Gregg Araki. He plays Neil McCormick, a sexually abused teenager who grows up to be a fearless and promiscuous male prostitute. His dangerous path of risky sexual adventures eventually leads him to Brian Lackey, a young man who was molested by the same man that abused him. The actor’s co-stars include Brady Corbet, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Elisabeth Shue.
It is a really different role for me, and I’ll always be really grateful to Gregg for believing that I could do a role like this. I’ve played the nice kid, and the smart one or funny one and even the angry one, but Gregg was the first one to call me sexy, and I’ll always be really grateful for that. But what I think is really special about this character, he is sexy on the outside, but there’s underneath that he’s really having a lot of problems.
Gordon-Levitt plays Dr. Don, a mob physician in this noir thriller by director Lee Daniels. He is summoned by contract killers Mikey and Rose, to assist crime boss Clayton, played by Stephen Dorff.Clayton’s wife after she gives birth. Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren star as the assassin couple, and Mo’Nique plays Dr. Don’s girlfriend.
My favorite scene is the scene where you don’t know what’s going to happen yet, and I’m like, “if you don’t hear from me in an hour, you have to get out of town” and we might be saying good bye right now. That’s the one that really got me.
Gordon-Levitt plays the lead role in this neo-noir directorial debut of Rian Johnson. playing Brendan Frye, a high school student living in suburban California. He discovers his ex-girlfriend’s dead body in a drainage ditch shortly after getting an urgent phone call from her asking for help. He proceeds to investigate her death, which leads him to dangerous secrets involving drugs and crime. On his character:
He thinks—he looks around at the world and sees it as a corrupt, petty, no-good affair. And then when he loses his one love—his one thing in the world that he does connect to—Emily—when he loses her to that, it really, really sends him to the back of the school and to just hunch over and harden up.
Gordon-Levitt plays an American war soldier in this Kimberly Peirce-directed drama film. He plays PFC Tommy Burgess, a troubled young soldier who witnesses the death of his best friend during the war, and has a difficult time adjusting to civilian life when he comes home. Other members of his squad are played by Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, and Timothy Olyphant.
Tommy, the character I play, is a real good soldier and not so good when he gets back. Life is so different, all the things that you need to focus on and care about when you’re over there, are just not things you need to focus and care about when you’re back here.
Gordon-Levitt stars in this thriller based on the Elmore Leonard novel of the same name. His character is Richie Nix, a troubled young man who is recruited by hit man Armand Degas, played by actor Mickey Rourke. Together, they hunt down a couple who managed to escape their extortion attack. The film also features Diane Lane, Thomas Jane, and Rosario Dawson.
Gordon-Levitt plays Tom Hansen in this offbeat romantic comedy directed by Marc Webb. A trained architect who writes greeting cards for a living, his character falls in love with his co-worker Summer, played by actress Zooey Deschanel. Their contrasting beliefs about love and relationships eventually end their 500-day romance.
He develops a mildly delusional obsession over a girl onto whom he projects all these fantasies. He thinks she’ll give his life meaning because he doesn’t care about much else going on in his life. A lot of boys and girls think their lives will have meaning if they find a partner who wants nothing else in life but them. That’s not healthy. That’s falling in love with the idea of a person, not the actual person.
Gordon-Levitt takes on the iconic role of Cobra Commander in this sci-fi action film directed by Stephen Sommers. As the supreme leader and head scientist of the terrorist organization Cobra, his character perfects nanomite technology to get back at the Joes. G.I. Joe field commander Duke is played by Channing Tatum. On playing Cobra Commander:
That toy is not my face. It’s a mask. I like that I get to keep my face. It has less to do with me and more to do with this character that I helped create. That’s more thrilling to me. It’s this thing that was born out of a creative, collaborative process between me and a bunch of other people that all worked on creating this character.
Gordon-Levitt stars in this indie drama thriller directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel. He plays Bobby, one half of a young New York couple who flips a coin to help them decide where to go on the 4th of July and whether or not they should have their unborn baby. They both experience two different realities that each take place in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The actor is joined by Lyn Collins, who plays his pregnant girlfriend.
It’s really different than my usual movie. They had written a script so the story was all very well thought through but the actual specifics of how everything was going to play out was sort of left up to the moment. The moments were left up to the moment. It allowed for just a whole new kind of creativity for me which, that’s what I’m in this for. I had a great time.
Gordon-Levitt hosts Saturday Night Live for the first time. His opening monologue includes a musical number to the Donald O’Connor tune, Make ‘Em Laugh, with the help of SNL cast member, Bobby Moynihan. He also plays singer Jason Mraz in the sketch, The Mellow Show and European electro-pop singer Klaus Future in the sketch, What’s Up with That? The episode also features former US Vice President Al Gore and musical guest Dave Matthews Band.
Gordon-Levitt directs and stars in this six-minute romantic silent film as the lead role of Morgan M. Morgansen. He goes on a date with his vegetarian love interest, Destiny, who is played by Lexy Hulme. Destiny is offended when he orders rabbit for dinner:
It was written by a young lady named metaphorest, and I loved her words so much that I recorded some voice-over for it, which inspired drawings, which inspired animations. There will always be a very special place in the heart of our HitRECord community for our man, Morgan M. Morgansen.
Gordon-Levitt stars in this big-budget science-fiction thriller film directed by Christopher Nolan. He plays the role of Arthur, the right hand man and partner of professional thief Dom Cobb played by actor Leonardo DiCaprio. While Cobb leads missions in stealing corporate secrets from the minds of executives as they sleep, it is Arthur’s job to apply his vision and make sure that the plans work without a hitch. The actor is joined by Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, and Ken Watanabe. On his character:
He’s the organized one. I think Cobb is sort of like the artist and I consider Arthur sort of like the producer. He the one that’s saying, “Okay, you have your vision, I’m going to figure out how you can do you thing and make the nuts and bolts underneath it work.”
Gordon-Levitt stars in this comedy sequel to Women in Trouble. It is directed by Sebastian Gutierrez, and features the actor as Bert Rodriquez, a Hispanic sex blogger who is an avid fan of retired porn star Elektra Luxx played by Carla Gugino. The actor is joined by Josh Brolin, Timothy Olyphant, Emmanuelle Chriqui, and Malin Ackerman.
Gordon-Levitt portrays the title role in this dark comedy drama produced by Natalie Portman. A foul-mouthed nihilist who loves heavy metal music, Hesher enters the life of TJ, teenage boy who recently lost his mother and lives with his grieving father and grandmother. Hesher and his rebellious ways proceed to change TJ’s life as the young man deals with his own feelings of fear and grief. The film also stars Portman as a checkout clerk, Rainn Wilson as TJ’s father, and Piper Laurie as the grandmother.
Gordon-Levitt portrays a cancer-stricken radio writer named Adam Lerner in this comedy-drama film directed by Jonathan Levine. Based on a true story, the film revolves around his character’s discovery of his illness and how it changes his life and that of his friends and family. He is joined by actor Seth Rogen who plays his best friend Kyle, Anjelica Huston who plays his overbearing mother Diane Lerner, and Anna Kendrick who plays his therapist Katherine McKay. On accepting the role of Adam:
First of all it’s just a good script, which is just rare to come by. You know I read a lot of scripts and most of them are just sort of not so good. You know, the characters don’t feel like human beings. They feel like plot devices, stereotypes. Especially scripts that make me laugh. It’s very, very rare to come by a well-written funny script. And so when I read “50/50,” I was really taken with it off the bat.
Gordon-Levitt reacts to fashion magazine GQ’s profile article of himself that mentioned his late brother, Dan. The author wrote that Dan had died of an alleged drug overdose, which the actor corrected in his Tumblr blog. The actor and his family have not given an official statement on his brother’s real cause of death.
Using the word “alleged” technically allows the writer to say whatever she wants. The “allegations” to which she must be referring were made by a handful of gossip websites. They are factually incorrect according to the coroner’s office and the police department. I don’t like publicly speaking about my brother’s death, but I’m making an exception to correct this irresponsible claim.
Gordon-Levitt plays John Blake in this final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Blake is a young police officer whose idealism and heroic deeds in solving crime in the city gets him a promotion from Commissioner James Gordon, played by Gary Oldman. The film also features Christian Bale as Batman, Michael Caine as butler Alfred Pennyworth, and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. On his character:
I would call him an idealist. Gotham has become a sort of a cynical place. It’s been eight years since the last movie ended, and Batman is nowhere to be seen, status quo has set in, the rich getting richer, no one asking a lot of questions. But Blake is the kind of guy that will raise his hand and he doesn’t mind ruffling a few feathers.
Gordon-Levitt appears on the cover of the August 2012 issue of popular men’s magazine, GQ. The actor models a variety of three-piece suits from such brands as Dolce & Gabbana, Hugo Boss, and Ermenegildo Zegna. In the interview, he shares details about his teenage years in showbiz, the devolution of the entertainment business, and his notion of fame.
I really don’t like this notion that some people are more important than other people. These stories about these elevated people called ‘celebrities’ teaches you that what you have to say doesn’t matter. It’s degrading.
Gordon-Levitt plays a New York City bike messenger named Wilee in this action thriller directed by David Koepp. Along with his fellow bike messenger girlfriend played by actress Dania Ramirez, he gets caught up in a dangerous chase with a dirty cop who wants to get his hands on a valuable delivery. The film also stars Michael Shannon, Jamie Chung, and Aasif Mandvi. On the film’s stunt-filled scenes:
This was the most challenging film I’ve ever done. You’re on a bike the entire movie. You’re having conversations on a phone the entire movie — while you’re riding a bike through New York City.
Gordon-Levitt hosts Saturday Night Live for a second time. The actor’s opening monologue features a Magic Mike-inspired routine in which he takes off his shirt and dances to the song, It’s Raining Men along with SNL cast members Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan, and Jay Pharoah. He acts in various comedy sketches including one where he plays a pathetic heir to the Dos Equis beer empire and self-proclaimed “Son of the Most Interesting Man in the World”. He also introduces musical guest Mumford & Sons.
Gordon-Levitt stars in this sci-fi action thriller as a young hired assassin – or “looper” – named Joe. He lives in a world where time travel exists, but is used by crime syndicates to eliminate their targets. Like every hit man, Joe is expected to “close the loop” by assassinating his older self, played by Bruce Willis. The two Joes come face to face and attempt to deal with the implications of their encounter. The actor’s co-stars include Jeff Daniels as the future mob boss and Emily Blunt as young Joe’s girlfriend. On the concept of the movie:
I would say sincerity is more important than originality. You could cite all kinds of influences that this draws from. What’s most important to me is — are you sincere? Do you have something to say? I feel like this movie does.
Gordon-Levitt stars in this epic historical drama film by director Steven Spielberg as Robert Todd Lincoln, the eldest son of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln. The only surviving son of the couple, he shuns the comforts of his family life to serve the government as Secretary of War. Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field play role of his parents. The film also stars Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, and James Spader.
Robert and Abraham Lincoln, it was a bit of a strained relationship. Abraham Lincoln was a bit of an absent father, especially when Robert was young. He was out on the circuit. I thought that was really interesting. You’d think, “Oh, one of the greatest men in history, he probably had a great relationship with his son”, but this movie doesn’t just paint a patriotic picture of an angel, it really shows a man, a human being.
Gordon-Levitt lends his voice to the English-language version of Hayao Miyazaki’s Japanese animated WWII drama. He voices the lead role of Jiro Horikoshi, a talented engineer who designs and builds airplanes for a living. He is conflicted by his passion for his job and the use of his aircraft in war. Stanley Tucci voices Jiro’s mentor, Caproni, and Emily Blunt voices his love interest, Naoko.
I love really good movies and Miyazaki is clearly one of the living masters of filmmaking. I’ve been fan of his movies for a number of years, and so when I got the call that I had the opportunity to do a voice in the English version, I jumped at the chance.
Gordon-Levitt reveals having a girlfriend during an interview on SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show. The actor also mentions that they met through mutual friends and that she is not from the showbiz industry. The interview covers other topics including his movie, Don Jon, and his views on relationships and marriage.
I have a girlfriend, but I tend not to really like to talk about it in public. She is not in show business.
Fallon, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Stephen Merchant battle in an epic lip sync-off to songs like Superbass and Take On Me.
Seacrest interviews Levitt during On Air With Ryan Seacrest about his film Don Jon.
No, I always thought it would be really fun and kind of hilarious for me to play this guy and I love playing characters that have a different upbringing for me, that have a different voice or posture. Getting to play Jon and disappearing into this guy and become him, you know? ‘And do my workouts and eat my chicken and drink protein shakes and get my hair high and tight.’ All that was really fun stuff for me.
Gordon-Levitt stars as New Jersey playboy Jon Martello in this romantic comedy, which he also writes and directs. His character is addicted to pornography even though he is popular among women and does not have any problems having flings on a regular basis. He dates Barbara Sugarman, played by Scarlett Johansson, and both of them struggle to stay together due to their varying ideas of love and relationships. The film also stars Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, and Julianne Moore. On his first stint as director:
I really wanted this movie to have a flair to the filmmaking. Especially comedies, it seems, often stay pretty conservative and just leave the comedy to the writing and acting and the rest of the filmmaking is very standardized. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted the filmmaking to reflect what was going on with the character and the evolution of the character.
Danza and Gordon-Levitt, talk with FlickDirect, about the film Don Juan and Gordon-Levitt’s casting of Danza .
Gordon-Levitt: Tony was my first choice Danza:The first time I read the script, I went ‘Wow’
Gordon-Levitt appears in the Thanksgiving TV special, Lady Gaga and the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular. Wearing a black suit and tie, the actor performs the classic holiday song, Baby, It’s Cold Outside with Gaga, who wears a long, red dress. The special also features appearances by Elton John, RuPaul, and Kristen Bell.
Gordon-Levitt confirms his involvement in the movie adaptation of the classic comic book series, The Sandman. The actor makes the announcement via his personal Twitter account, in which he also mentions working with screenwriter David Goyer and The Sandman author himself, Neil Gaiman.
The actor launches a new television variety show entitled, HitRECord on TV. The show features animations, films, songs, and stories from various collaborators in the company’s online community. Gordon-Levitt hosts each episode, and is joined by celebrity friends in interpreting chosen contributions. The pilot airs on cable network Pivot, while attendees of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival get to see three episodes. About the premiere:
It’s been wonderful seeing the very positive response to our first episode. Every episode revolves around a different theme… Episode 3, the theme is trash. It’s not so polite. I really like that.
Gordon-Levitt discusses hitRECord on TV, his re-invented for the social media age variety show, which has debuted on the new network, Pivot, in this interview for PBS.
So in our first episode there’s 426 people whose work is all featured in that. In that first short film there were around 1,400 contributions that we whittled down to I forget the exact number, 60-something, and that’s people who did the voiceover, people who played all the different instruments on the score, people who did the animation behind the actress and who contributed the individual illustrations that went into the animation, all coming from different people.
Gordon-Levitt releases a video message urging his fans to support the Mayday.us super PAC. The PAC, founded by Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig, aims to elect candidates who will enact meaningful campaign finance reform.
Gordon-Levitt gives the public a sneak peek of his new upcoming movie, The Walk on his official Facebook page. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film is based on the Oscar-winning documentary, Man on Wire, which tells the story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit and his death-defying tightrope walk between the World Trade Center Twin Towers in 1974. Also starring Sir Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale, and Charlotte Le Bon, the film is set to be released in October, 2015.
Gordon-Levitt is set to star in the upcoming Sandman movie as Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams. Scheduled to be released in 2016, the film is based on the Neil Gaiman-penned comic book series about Morpheus and his powerful brothers called the Endless.
I love just the basic concept of it – just the concept of personifying Dream, along with all of his brothers and sisters, the seven Endless personifying Death, personifying Destruction and Delirium and Destiny and Desire and Despair. I mean, that’s just a fascinating and, I think, a really cinematic concept. You look at the art of Sandman, and it just looks spectacular.
Gordon-Levitt returns as a guest on Conan and talks about the “Best Performance with a Fake Nose” award he received from a website. He also tries out a bunch of fake noses with O’Brien and watches an old clip of his appearance in Jeopardy.
Again, trying to play a young Bruce Willis and look at yourself in the mirror doing lines, don’t know if I’m selling this. I don’t know if anyone will buy the “you grow up to be Bruce Willis”. Then once I put on that face and put in the contact lenses. It was a nose and lips, eyebrows, ears. All subtle but a lot of stuff and then I’m like “OK, yeah, this isn’t me anymore”.
Gordon-Levitt marries girlfriend Tasha McCauley in a secret ceremony at their home.