Joseph Gordon-Levitt says his “superhero brother,” who lost his life in 2010, has inspired a dramatic moment in Mr Corman.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s new TV series, Mr Corman, sees the actor take on the role of Josh Corman, a primary school teacher in California who is plagued by anxiety and thoughts of what could have been if he’d carried on his career as a musician instead of a teacher.
The show – which Gordon-Levitt has written, produced and directed for Apple TV – has been described as being “darkly funny, oddly beautiful and deeply heartfelt.” And this rings all the truer now that the actor has explained how his late brother, Dan, inspired his work on the series.
Dan was a fire-spinning artist and flow arts teacher at Flow Temple Arts School in Venice Beach, California, before his death in October 2010. He was just 36.
“He’s in kind of everything I do,” Gordon-Levitt tells Insider. “There’s one episode [of Mr Corman] where you see different ways life could have gone for Josh and they are represented in all these bizarre collages.
“In one of those Josh has died and that certainly reminded me less of my brother and more of my family’s experience going through that.”
In the same interview, Gordon-Levitt also opens up about how his brother placed a huge importance on gratitude, adding that he decided to highlight that quality in Mr Corman through his own character.
“My brother talked about gratitude all the time and Josh is someone that I think has that lesson to learn,” the actor says.
“I think he knows he has a lot to be grateful for but he’s not always able to tune into that and that lesson was something I think my brother was very focused on. That’s something I admired about him.”
Last year, Gordon-Levitt paid tribute to his “superhero” brother, Dan, on what would have been his 46th birthday.
“Today’s my brother Dan’s birthday,” he tweeted. “He and I started @hitrecord together a long time ago. We all miss him, [it’s] been ten years now since he died.”
The actor continued: “I love seeing art inspired by him. Draw him, write about him, talk about him, whatever.”
Gordon-Levitt then directed people who knew his brother to a blog post on the hitRECord website, the media platform which the brothers co-founded in 2005.
There, he encouraged them to share stories, photos and videos about Dan, noting: “We’ve done various projects in honour of my brother here on hitRECord over the years. But there isn’t really a catch-all place to just contribute anything about him.
“Maybe you have a story about an experience you and he had together. Maybe you have some photos you took of him. Maybe you drew him or something. People post stuff like that on his Facebook page, but there ought to be a place on hitRECord.”
He finished: “I’d just like there to be a place on the site where we gather a bunch of stuff about him. EXCELSIOR! <3”
Mr Corman is available to stream on Apple TV.
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.