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Some actors crash and tumble into adult celebrity, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt took the quiet route.
Gordon-Levitt's been acting since he was about six, but it wasn't until his mid-20s that his incredible work ethic grew into bona fide "star" status.
While "Mysterious Skin" saw Levitt playing a young hustler and prostitute with a devastating past, "Brick," placed him in the scene-stealing role of a high-schooler-turned-detective after his girlfriend goes missing.
Said Rolling Stone's movie critic Peter Travers, "'Sensational' is the word for Joseph Gordon-Levitt (equally striking in 'Mysterious Skin')" in "Brick."By the time Gordon-Levitt appeared in 2007's "The Lookout" as a disabled janitor, his transition from kid star to Hollywood heavy was virtually complete.
It seemed barely a month would go by without one of the actor's projects playing in theaters.
There was his standout turn as John Blake in "The Dark Knight Rises," which many fans hoped was a hint that Gordon-Levitt was actually the Robin to Bruce Wayne's Batman.
As a prolific performer, Gordon-Levitt will often offer his fans a buffet of films to choose from, all within a single year.
That was the case in 2010, when those drawn to the darker side of Gordon-Levitt could watch him as the foul-mouthed, tattooed lead in "Hesher."For those who wanted more sci-fi action at the theater in 2010, Gordon-Levitt delivered with Christopher Nolan's "Inception." He fully impressed -- and opened himself up to an even wider audience -- with his gravity-defying stunts, standing out as one of the film's top draws.
If you know nothing else about him, you know that Gordon-Levitt once played alien Tommy Solomon on the long-running sitcom "3rd Rock from the Sun." On the NBC comedy, a teenage Levitt played one of four extraterrestrial explorers masquerading as humans on Earth.
There was also Gordon-Levitt's turn as a fast-pedaling bike messenger in "Premium Rush." The consensus was that it wasn't bad -- nothing more, nothing less -- but considering how busy JGL must have been during his production, we'll give him a pass.
Gordon-Levitt also transformed into a Bruce Willis lookalike for his reunion with "Brick" director Rian Johnson and his futuristic thriller, "Looper." Critics salivated over its gripping plot, and while Gordon-Levitt had prosthetics to help him get into character, he was also recognized for carrying a strong performance.
Instead of starring in four films in 2013, he chose to star in one -- which he also happened to write and direct.
The romantic comedy "Don Jon," about a New Jersey playboy's porn addiction, puts the 32-year-old back in the role of a romantic interest, but in a Casanova way that he never quite broached before. "Don Jon," co-starring Scarlett Johansson, is also Gordon-Levitt's feature directorial debut.
"Every performance in this film is flawless," proclaimed USA Today's Claudia Puig.