Leah Greenblatt
March 31, 2010 AT 04:57 PM EDT

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the cheek-pinchable child actor (cuckoo for cocoa-puffs!) turned ’90s sitcom star, is now a fully grown serious adult thespian, with a slew of high-profile indie and commercial roles to his IMDB credit. But his passion, he recently told EW in a sit-down interview in Austin, Tex., is his long-running for-the-people-by-the-people project hitrecord.org (pronounced “hit reh-CORD,” not “hit RECK-ord”).

“It’s my production company,” he explains, rubbing the head he recently shaved bare to play a chemo patient in the Seth Rogen dramedy I’m With Cancer. “But rather than just working within the insular Hollywood industry, I wanted to open it up to anybody, because there are so many people all over the world who are doing great art, in New York, in the Philippines, anywhere — whether they’re writing or making music or taking photos. So the website is just a way for me to collaborate with those great artists all over the place. It’s a place for people to come and work with me.”

“I picked that name like five years ago,” he continues, “when it was just my little thing, and ‘Hit record’ was my mantra of like, ‘do it, press the button, make things’…. But rather than ‘Okay, audience, sit there and watch me do my thing,’ it’s a community — let’s all make something together. Anybody who wanted to put their stuff up there, if the community liked it, we could make it happen.”

So far, that means mostly short films like this one, featuring Gordon-Levitt himself and his two-time big-screen co-star (Stop Loss, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) Channing Tatum, along with a host of interactive collaborators via hitrecord, who contributed everything from animation to their glockenspiel skills (and were paid for their efforts). 

Gordon-Levitt hopes his model of democratic collaboration and profit-sharing, aided by a partnership with information technology company G-Tech, will eventually lead to a full-length feature film. “It will take us a little while,” he admits. “But we got big plans.”

What do you think, PopWatchers? Is this mode of groupwork the future of creative content, or a blip in the Internet ether?

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