Backstage with… Joseph Gordon-Levitt, star of Apple TV show Mr Corman | Ents & Arts News
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s new show sees him take on the role of someone who wonders what their life might be like had things worked out differently.
Mr Corman, which was also written and directed by Gordon-Levitt, follows the story of a man who teaches fifth grade history in California’s San Fernando Valley – but had initially wanted a career in music.
And while he understands he has a lot to be thankful for, he often finds himself struggling through anxiety and loneliness.
“Mr Corman, is about a guy who has a lot to be grateful for, but he’d be lying if he were to tell you that he was happy 100% percent of the time,” Gordon-Levitt told Sky News.
“We have a lot to be grateful for, relative to many, many people on the planet – but that doesn’t mean that we’ll be happy 100% of the time.
“And those moments of anxiety or where you feel like you’ve messed up or you don’t know how you feel about yourself, that can be sad or stressful, but it can also be funny – and that’s sort of my aim with Mr Corman, to present those moments in a way that feels real and also with a sense of humour.”
The Don Jon star said that there was a lot of him in Mr Corman and had written it after some self-reflection.
“There’s a lot of me in this show, Josh Corman, the name sort of sounds like Joseph Gordon,” he said.
“He’s not exactly me, but it started out actually with me just writing down a bunch of stuff that I was grateful for and then changing a few things, looking at how lucky I’ve been and wondering ‘what if this stroke of luck had been different?’ or ‘what if I had made a different choice here?’ and arriving at this character that I do have a lot in common with.”
Mr Corman, while he still has a job, a place to live and a circle of friends, still finds itself with a relatable message around mental health.
“I think as we arrive in adulthood, which is a nebulous arrival, we all have expectations of life that we’ve been building up ever since we were kids,” he said to Sky News.
“And then we’re like, ‘okay, some things are what I thought they would be’, and ‘some things are different than I thought that would be’ – and that can be sad, it can be stressful.
“It can also be funny, and that’s where a lot of humour comes from.
“Do I think it’ll be relatable? I mean, I think it’s pretty universal human thing.”
Despite the show taking place in the sunny climes of California – the show was largely made in New Zealand.
Why? Well it started shooting in LA just before the pandemic shutdown in the states – leaving the production team with a decision on how to make the show.
Gordon-Levitt explained from his home in New Zealand: “We were three weeks into shooting when the pandemic arrived and we were in Los Angeles and we had to shut down with everybody else and… production partners just had this idea – ‘what would you think if we went to New Zealand where there are no COVID cases?’ and I thought we had won the lottery.
“I just feel so lucky and grateful to have gone to move my family and my life here and get to make this show here, and I got to hand it to the people of New Zealand – they’re really community oriented and team players.
“And it’s not surprising to me that they’ve beat the virus here. Of course I miss home, you always do, but we’ve just found such a warm and friendly environment here – not to mention the natural environment is gorgeous.
“But the people, there’s a warmth and, like I said, a community orientation that’s so welcoming and lovely.
“There are amazing communities in the United States as well, but there’s also a fractured quality to our country and society right now – but yeah, I love it here. I’m incredibly grateful.”
Mr Corman is streaming now on Apple TV+.