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Speed Round with Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Davy Rothbart asked his far-flung Facebook friends what questions they had for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Here, the Notorious J.G.L. responds.

Ready for the Speed Round?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Let’s do it.

What’s your favorite alcoholic drink?

J.G.L.: Well, I like to be drinking red wine if I’m going to be kissing. If I’m with buddies, then it’s more like beer. Tequila’s good for dancing.

Favorite cassette tapes you listened to as a kid?

J.G.L.: I used to tape things off the radio, try to catch my favorite songs when they played it. But my main music collection was CDs. My mom had tapes, though. We’d listen in the car. That was the first music I got attached to — Bobby McFerrin, The Beatles, Harry Belafonte.

Will you marry me please?

J.G.L.: No.

Who would win in a fight, you or James Franco?

J.G.L.: Me.

I think you’re adorable. Do you like older women?

J.G.L.: Sure.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

J.G.L.: Rocky Road.

Who would you most like to get shit-faced with?

J.G.L.: Who would I most like to get shit-faced with? I’d say Bridgitte Bardot, a long time ago.

Skates or rollerblades?

J.G.L.: To be honest, this is kind of embarrassing. Rollerblades.

Were you a fan of G.I. Joe growing up?

J.G.L.: Actually, no. I wasn’t allowed to have toy guns. I had swords but not guns — that’s where my parents drew the line. I liked He-Man and Thundercats.

Will you play Cobra Commander again?

J.G.L.: No.

Pizza or nachos?

J.G.L.: Pizza.

What was your favorite tattoo you rocked in Hesher?

J.G.L.: Well, you can’t really see it, but [director] Spencer [Susser] came up with this clever little thing that it took me a long time to notice — he wrote ‘EVIL’ backwards on my knuckles, which says ‘LIVE.’

Do you have any tattoos?

J.G.L.: Nope, I don’t have any.

Dark chocolate or light chocolate?

J.G.L.: Dark.

Is there a major difference between working on a small movie like Brick and a big movie like Inception?

J.G.L.: Honestly, yeah, there are obvious differences, but to me what stays the same are the questions I ask myself and the people around me: ‘Are you having fun?’ ‘Are you into what you’re doing?’ ‘Do you care?’

Director you’d like to work with?

J.G.L.: Tarantino.

Do you want to direct feature-length films?

J.G.L.: Yeah, one day. That sounds good.

Unplugged or electric?

J.G.L.: Both.

Mac or PC?

J.G.L.: Mac.

Blondes or brunettes?

J.G.L.: Both.

Paper or plastic?

J.G.L.: There’s a right answer to this question. I forget what it is.

I really like the video you shot, Pictures of Assholes, where you turned the tables on a pair of paparazzi photographers and started grilling them about their work. What’s it like to be recognized on the street? Is it surreal? Are people obnoxious or friendly? Do they open up to you more quickly because they’ve seen you on the screen and feel like they know you?

J.G.L.: Yeah, sometimes there’s a kind of built-in intimacy, and I like that. What’s weird or off-putting is when someone runs up to me and says, “Whoa, you’re famous!” Because I don’t know what to say to that and it’s just awkward. But I love it when people feel a connection to some work that I’ve done. When they come over and say, “I saw that thing you did and it made me think about something in a new way.” Or, “It made me laugh.” Or, “I just really dug it.” That always feels good.

Davy Rothbart is the creator of Found Magazine, editor of the Found books, author of the story collection The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas, and a frequent contributor to public radio’s This American Life. He’s also the founder of an annual hiking trip for inner-city kids called Washington II Washington.

Previously from Davy Rothbart:

What’s Your Deal? With Bismack Biyombo
What’s Your Deal? With Dominic Fredianelli

Filed Under: Art, Celebrities, General topics, Joseph Gordon-Levitt