James Franco, and his ever-expanding, ever-busy schedule, totally just did Joseph Gordon-Levitt a solid: He dropped out of Christopher Nolan’s mind-twisting thriller Inception. My reaction: Heck yes! Don’t get me wrong, I love Franco, and actually thought he deserved an Oscar nomination for his sensitive performance in Milk. But his star has already risen, and he’s got plenty of projects in the pipeline that will continue his ascent (I’m especially stoked to see him play Allen Ginsberg in Howl.)
But this might be the big break I’ve been waiting for Hollywood to give to the talented Gordon-Levitt. To see him go from 3rd Rock from the Sun to one of the brightest young talents in the business blows the mind. He’s proven his worth in the independent movie scene, with top-notch performances in The Lookout, Mysterious Skin and Brick, a.k.a. that movie I had to watch with subtitles to figure out what the hell anyone was saying. But his forays with big-name directors (Miracle at St. Anna, Stop-Loss) have disappointed and been ignored by moviegoers, through no fault of his own really.
A role in the next Nolan movie is just what he needs on his path to becoming a leading man, even if that movie is, alas, not a follow-up to The Dark Knight. With a cast that also includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page and Cillian Murphy, he’ll be in the best company possible. And certainly, the buzz around (500) Days of Summer, with the cute-as-a-button Zooey Deschanel, will help his cause, too. (He’s also in G.I. Joe, but oy, that looks like a bomb, don’t you think?) PopWatchers, time to weigh in: Is there a downside to the Franco/Gordon-Levitt switch? Do you like Gordon-Levitt as well?