Who here feels like a lucky guy? Only one child in teacher Josh Corman’s fifth grade raises his arm. “And, Mr. Corman, are you happy?” The student returns the question to the man in his mid-thirties with glasses. I, no, of course, I’m a happy person, stutters the teacher. But the series “Mr. Corman”, which has been running as an exclusive series on Apple’s in-house streaming service TV + since Friday, quickly gets to the point. Josh (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) suffers from anxiety and panic attacks are increasing.
Gordon-Levitt als Softie
The passionate musician – in the shower he drums on his chest until it’s bright red – has practically buried the dream of his own band. His great love (Juno Temple), who continues to try her hand at singing, has moved out. Josh is now sharing a cheap apartment with his buddy Victor (Arturo Castro) in the San Fernando Valley, near Los Angeles. In the dramedy style it is sometimes funny, but more serious about life issues such as sex, family, self-fulfillment and psychological problems.
“Josh has a good heart and he tries to be happy and grateful, but that doesn’t work 100 percent,” says Gordon-Levitt in an interview with dpa. He can identify with the character quite well. “Sometimes my head goes to a dark place,” admits the actor. As for “Mr. Corman”, the 40-year-old has every reason to be happy. Gordon-Levitt not only shines as a leading actor, the Californian is also a series creator, producer, co-author, directs eight out of ten episodes and is involved as a musician.
The star of films like “Inception”, “(500) Days of Summer”, “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Snowden” was spotted on television as a teenager. For six years he played an alien in the comedy series “Behind the Moon Immediately Left”. The multi-talent made his feature film directorial debut in 2013 with “Don Jon”, a comedy about porn addiction.
In “Mr.Corman” Gordon-Levitt goes wild with a great cast, including Hugo Weaving, and creative wit. In a scene with Josh and his mother Ruth (Debra Winger) the two take off dancing and singing like in a dream. Josh finds himself in alternative realities. In a Halloween costume, he fights himself after a long night, the scene ends with animated opponents. Again and again he falls into his gloomy world. The panic attacks announce themselves with a strike of the gong – and with a fiery meteor that rushes towards the earth.
The shooting of “Mr. Corman” had just been running for three weeks when the corona pandemic hit production in spring 2020. They moved the shoot to New Zealand without further ado – and rewrote the scripts. “We just couldn’t ignore the pandemic in history, it wouldn’t have felt real,” explains Gordon-Levitt. The disaster scenario fits perfectly with Josh’s fears. This made the story much more interesting, says the actor and director.
The last three episodes with zoom dates, panicked hand washing and stuck quarantine in the parental home portray the pandemic frustration with humor and seriousness in a deceptively real way. Josh is not always the focus. One episode titled “Mr. Morales” revolves around the divorced Victor grappling with his 13-year-old daughter’s puberty worries. “Mr. Corman” goes to the heart with his characters and emotional fluctuations. “I want it to feel real, that’s always been my goal,” says Gordon-Levitt. He succeeded in doing this perfectly with dark, comical humor and surprising creativity. (Barbara Munker) /