Actually, it was never a secret. I’d tell anyone how awesome this guy was if they were within earshot. And I have.
JGL has been an actor all his life getting his big break landing a role on 3rd Rock from the Sun playing some alien. Never saw the show, don’t plan on to. I won’t even hyper-link it. Got nothing against it, but it’s not the part of his career I’m interested in. Don’t worry, I’m getting to where my slightly insane fandom comes from.
So, he did the show for six years until it ended and quit acting. He “hated celebrity”. That’s a fairly bold thing to say since acting was the only kind of job he’s ever had. How many child actors have survived life after sitcom?
He spent the next four years attending Columbia university taking various non-acting subjects. He felt this time matured him as a person and made the decision to return to acting taking roles in independent films. This was where he thought the good material was. His early work had him playing various broken characters up against gigantimous obstacles. My specialty.
The Lookout: In my first JGL, he plays Chris Pratt, a kid with nothing but the best in life ahead of him until he’s in a terrible accident. His brain is irreparably damaged leaving him with no short-term memory. Instead of being king of the world, he’s the janitor at a bank and some unsavory individuals want to use him to pull off a heist. Fools!
What’s great about his performance is he never plays the character as dumb. That would be too easy. Instead, he plays him as a guy trapped inside himself. He still knows who he was and what he could’ve been, but his injury has locked that guy up forever and he’s got to live with it. He’s doesn’t want to be treated like he’s broken and it’s the reason he’s coerced into helping with the heist. He thinks he’s being treated as Chris “King of the World” Pratt.
Mysterious Skin: As much as I love this movie, I can’t totally recommend it without saying the subject matter is difficult. It won’t be for everyone.
JGL plays Neil McCormack, who at a young age realizes he’s a homosexual, (And so we’re clear, this NOT the difficult part.) which escalates into him becoming a prostitute and petty criminal. Neil seems fearless in everything he does and is always in control, which is really a big fat, flimsy wall waiting to coming crashing down.
Going on at the same time is the story of Brian Lackey, who believes his social awkwardness is because he was abducted by aliens. Recurring dreams lead him to believe he wasn’t the only boy abducted and thinks it might be Neil.
The boys eventually meet and the true source of there problems is revealed. AKA the difficult part. I won’t spoil it for anyone interested in watching. If you do, your in for an amazing character study that is so powerful, it literally hurts to watch.
There’s a bunch of others I could gush about, do a series on (Hmm), but I’ll stop here and suggest you watch everything post 2000 by this guy. He’s never played the same part twice and I’m honestly blown away by everything he’s done. And just in case anyone remembers him from G.I Joe, yes, that one impressed me too. Not because it’s such a great movie, but he played a Cobra Commander that is nothing like the original and I liked it. What’s that you say? I’m biased? Probably. Doesn’t mean I’m not right. Deal.
Besides G.I Joe, he’s gotten notice being in Inception and the full of awesome romantic indie, 500 Days of Summer. Now he’s set to be a part of the next Batman movie and I couldn’t be happier for him. On his return to acting he wanting to earn a living making good movies. Nothing more, and his dedication to that ideal has brought him where he is now.
It’s a definite lesson for me on how I want to mange my career. I’ve got plenty of fears because there’s a lot of unknown, but it all goes back to writing good books. The rest should fall into place.