The Blunt Reason Joseph Gordon-Levitt Won’t Direct His R-Rated Musical With Channing Tatum

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Gordon-Levitt made his feature directorial debut in 2013 with Don Jon - but in the three years since, we haven't heard any news about what his follow-up will be. Given that one of actor-cum-director's biggest in-development projects is an untitled R-rated musical co-starring Channing Tatum, some might wonder if Gordon-Levitt would be up for the task of helming it himself... but it seems that won't be happening. As he explained to me during a recent interview, he wants to be so focused on his performance in the movie that directing it as well would be basically be impossible.

I talked with Joseph Gordon-Levitt about his upcoming untitled musical this past weekend when we sat down one-on-one during the Los Angeles press day for Oliver Stone's Snowden. Curious about his developing his work as a filmmaker, I asked if there was a possibility that he would both direct and star in his new movie with Channing Tatum, and he explained that it's just not something that's plausible. Said Gordon-Levitt,

The thing is, that's going to be really challenging performance-wise. We really want to rehearse and really, really push ourselves as far as the performance. Directing is very time consuming. So, I mean, you wouldn't be able to be in full-day dance rehearsals at the same time as planning your shots and meeting with production designers and stuff like that.

Right now, very little is known about the project in general. Joseph Gordon-Levitt developed the story for the film with Channing Tatum and himself in mind for the leads, and it's been said that the musical will be R-rated. Screenwriter Michael Bacall, who is best known for his work on both 21 and 22 Jump Street, is currently writing the script. I asked Gordon-Levitt if he could provide any details regarding what it will be about, but he kept his lips sealed tight:

You know, it's too early to talk about it that much, but Mike is writing it right now. He and I were talking about it yesterday. So, it's really exciting. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. Both Channing and I are so stoked.

As for the future of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directing career, he told me that he does have "some things" in the works for his second feature, but added that it's also something that he's not really ready to talk about. Given that his performance would make him unavailable to direct his the new movie with Channing Tatum, I asked if directing a musical was something that he was potentially interested in down the line, and he enthusiastically responded to the idea:

As a director, oh one day I would love to make a musical. But, you know, life is long!

For now, we continue to wait for news about Joseph Gordon-Levitt's work behind the camera, but the good news is that we will soon be able to see him in front of them once again. Oliver Stone's Snowden, which features the actor as the titular controversial figure Edward Snowden, will be in theaters on September 16th -- and be sure to stay tuned for more from my interview with the star!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.