Interview: ‘Lincoln’ Star Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Jeff Vespa / WireImage

You’re releasing another book, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories Vol. 2, from your online community hitRECord. What makes this different from the first one?

First of all, there are twice as many stories. The community’s grown a lot on the level of artistry and professionalism, and the contribution has really risen this year.  That just makes it all the more fun to work on these collaborative projects.

How did you choose 62 contributors from the 14,946 stories you received?

We try to have each one contain a beginning, middle, and end. We would catch ourselves thinking, Yes, this is a really good little bit of writing, but it’s not a tiny story, it’s more of a joke. Some of them do have surprise endings, but we weren’t going for zingers. Each one hopefully has something to say, and whether that something is funny, sad, or derogative, it tries to be complete.

Which one strikes a chord with you?

I like the one that reads: “You have reached the end of the world, please stand behind the barrier and take no photos.” It’s more like a poem. It doesn’t necessarily wrap everything up with a neat bow. That’s how life should be.

It seems like you’re good at recognizing what you’re passionate about.

I totally think that finding something you love doing and focusing on it is a big part of what makes any person happy. Obviously, none of us can spend all day every day doing things that we love. There are parts of my job that are more boring, logistical, political, or salesmanlike. I don’t get to sit around and make art all day long. But I do that other stuff because of  the art that I do get to make: acting in movies, putting out a book like Tiny Stories, and working on hitRECord.

If you hadn’t been successful as an actor, what else would you have done?

That’s fascinating to think about ... what I could have been. Ultimately, I would want to do something where
I was telling stories in some form. If, for whatever reason, I were unable to act or put out books, maybe I would want to be a journalist like my parents were. Or a history professor or scientist who, to me, tell stories under a different set of rules. All of those possibilities are really interesting.

Sounds like you need more than one life.

[Laughs] Don’t we all?