In ‘Mr. Corman,’ Joseph Gordon-Levitt Looks Inward and Asks, ‘What If?’ - The New York Times
Jul 30, 2021 2 mins, 10 secs
For his new Apple TV+ comedy series, Gordon-Levitt imagined what his life might have been like if he hadn’t been so lucky.

But in his new dramatic comedy series, “Mr?

“I’m really lucky to be me,” said Gordon-Levitt, who created, directed and stars in the new series, which premieres Aug.

Like Gordon-Levitt, his character, Josh Corman, cherishes an unfulfilled ambition of becoming a rock star.

(Gordon-Levitt himself sings and plays guitar.) Unlike Gordon-Levitt, Josh has failed thus far to accomplish his dreams, having given up on music to become a fifth grade public-school teacher.

And Josh has another companion, whose presence Gordon-Levitt takes pains to highlight without stigmatizing: deep-seated anxiety that occasionally leaves him panicked and gasping for breath.

In other words, it’s no accident that Josh Corman — Gordon-Levitt’s first regular role on a scripted TV series in two decades — and Joseph Gordon have such similar sounding names.

“When I’m playing Josh, I don’t have to think about what to do,” he said in a recent video call from New Zealand, where he had been living with his family since October.

LIKE HIS CHARACTER IN “MR.

CORMAN,” Gordon-Levitt grew up in the San Fernando Valley, in Los Angeles.

Zemeckis, who directed Gordon-Levitt as the French high-wire artist Philippe Petit in “The Walk” in 2015, said that Gordon-Levitt had a singular commitment to immersion.

So, on the new series he made the takes longer, letting the actors breathe and improvise.

Corman’ than most shows and movies,” Gordon-Levitt said.

“The Kiwi crew was so sweet — the only problem was they would pronounce ‘yes’ like ‘yeese,’” Castro said, noting he picked up the habit himself.

On the subject of mental health, it was important to Gordon-Levitt that “Mr.

“We wanted to normalize it and show a guy who has a relatively secure and safe life, and yet here he is wrestling with anxiety,” he said, adding: “That’s normal?

The show was also an opportunity for him to present a more complex picture of Valley life, particularly by showcasing Latino stories — like that of Castro’s character, a divorced young father — in an authentic way.

The fourth episode (“Mr. Morales”) is devoted almost entirely to Castro’s character and is one of two in the series that Aurora Guerrero, a Chicana filmmaker from California, directed.

“The approach to that was subverting what we tend to see in the mainstream when it comes to Latino characters — a white male lead with a character of color as a sidekick,” she said.

“I felt so, so lucky,” he said, adding: “I realized, I’m the adult now


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