Joseph Gordon-Levitt turns his camera on the paparazzi, they were not amused (at first)

This is actually an interesting video.

TV and film star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, from Third Rock and the Dark Knight (he was the young cop), sees some paparazzi staking out a hotel in NYC. Suddenly they see him, so they start chasing him. So he grabs his camera, and starts videoing them instead. They were not amused. But then, suddenly, one of the paparazzi starts to get into it, and we find out something very interesting about him towards the end of the video.

Here’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s description of the video:

It doesn’t normally happen that paparazzi photographers pay me any attention when I’m not working. In fact, it only ever happened once (thank god) that I can think of. Luckily I had my video camera on me when it did. A friend and I were just walking down the street in Manhattan when we passed these two photographers who were sitting outside the entrance of some hotel, presumably waiting to photograph somebody who was staying there. I didn’t think much of them until, a block or so later, they came running up and started to take my picture. I tried to be nice and politely ask them not to. They were neither nice nor polite. And that’s when I remembered I had my camera in my bag. So that’s where the movie starts.

The only other thing I’ll say is (and I had trouble deciding whether or not to be so blunt with my opinion, but here goes) I do believe that the myth of “Celebrity” is not just innocently shallow entertainment, but a powerful and fundamental part of a larger movement revolving around greed, apathy and hierarchy that is currently dragging us down, down, down, lower and scarier, and perhaps weaker than we’ve ever, ever been. Smile!


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • DC

    I like that he did that.

  • Nisaa Genira

    Commenters are clearly confused by the references in this video, but it’s been several years since it was shot. The entire debate could have been avoided if you’d bothered to source the video.

  • Nisaa Genira

    Well this is an old video that the OP hasn’t bothered to date. Levitt hadn’t made Inception at this point in his career.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    I just think it’s a funny point to nitpick about. The show was on for five years and it’s how he got his start, I think. John in passing offered up a couple things he was in — a long-running series and a recent movie (more recent than Inception and with a similar-sized part.) For once I’m totally in John’s court :)

  • Leigha7

    Inception is probably the best reference to make, especially since they compare him to DiCaprio in the video and they were in that movie together.

  • swb

    you guys realize that this is 7 years old, right?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I’m not sure if the idea behind putting more “balance” in your life is memorizing the entire list of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s filmography. :) I prefer to do it with cookies, travel, and puppies :)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Sounded personal to me ;-)

  • Butch1

    It’s unfortunate the one on the right really had an attitude problem and a chip on his shoulder. He wants pictures but, would prefer calling the star an “asshole” and insult him by trying to name larger stars than he is to try and make him feel bad. What an insecure prick he was being. He doesn’t like how it feels to have the camera turned on him with the lens breathing down his throat and his actions were much worse than any movie star I have ever seen. They wonder why they are loathed by the stars?

    I think Gordon-Levitt could have blown up at them and chose to let them make bigger fools of themselves by staying calm and just defusing the situation by talking to the sane one which finally calmed down the ass who finally came back towards the end when his insults were not getting him anywhere.

  • Andrew

    Was the younger one gay? I couldn’t tell if his ‘fantasy’ was personal or professional. He was cute in any event.

  • UVP

    Interesting video. The outrage at being filmed against their will was great. They clearly hate it when someone fights back.

    It’s obviously a symbiotic relationship, but I think what galls me is the assumption that “You appreciate having the publicity that we help provide” equals “You have no right to demand that we be polite or any say in how we treat you”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Neville-Ross/100002343524258 Neville Ross

    Excuse me, sir/madame, but one can know both sports scores, news about famous actors, and news of the world; it’s called balance.

  • Clevelandchick

    I saw Inception and Lincoln, you didn’t? Seriously to include as his main reference to this actor, a sitcom that isn’t even in syndication anymore…from 15 years ago is super lame. If that’s what fit you then..OK, that’s what fit you.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I spent the first part of my life thinking and talking about saving the world; Several decades actually saving the world, and now live these last few years with a certain joy that I will actually get to leave this world.—– All in all a good thing.

  • Luigi DaMan

    Wow! He “may” be gay, so that’s why they hounded him! I’m really stunned. That never occurred to me as for the reason to chase someone famous and take their picture. These “moral policemen paparazzi” are the real assholes of the universe. This has totally changed my mind on this particular kid of vermin.

  • bbock

    I don’t know for certain, but have you ever watched TMZ? I think they’re all assholes.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I promise to spend less time staying up until 1am trying to save the world, and more time watching YouTube :)

  • dcinsider

    Saw that. He was a jerk. And I believe he said he was heterosexual because there was not a person on the planet that would have thought that of him.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    I didn’t see 500 days of summer or Looper, so John’s description was actually just right for me. Since you guys knew exactly who JGL was John’s description wasn’t for you.

  • dula

    I would rather John know the latest details of our slide into Oligarchy instead of sports scores or the resumes of Hollywood actors. I think JGL is making the same point.

  • Clevelandchick

    Yeah, I was amused at his lame description of JGL’s career…3rd Rock? That was like 15 years ago, lol.

  • Tooboots

    the paparazzi must inherently hate themselves otherwise why engage in a bottom feeding “job” that is solely meant to glorify the accomplishments of others and not their own. Their lives are parasitic. It is no wonder they are douchebags,

  • http://www.facebook.com/frances.chee Frances Chee

    Mr. Aravoisis: JGL was in Inception, 500 Days of Summer, Looper, and well, Lincoln… and he’s essentially Robin in Dark Knight. So the fact you put (he was the young cop) in parentheses, tells me you are overlooking him as an actor sort of like these pictured assholes here. Just a thought.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Well done….a Masters degree in Celebrity!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    “Privacy for me, but not for thee” seems to be the operative rule.

  • OtterQueen

    I really like Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an actor, now I think he may actually be a pretty cool person, too. Interesting clip. And I really enjoyed “Looper.”

  • dula

    Are there any paparazzi who are not complete douchebags like those two or is being a smarmy, reprehensible human a prerequisite for the job? I bet their mothers couldn’t even manage to love them.

  • UncleBucky

    I liked how Gordon-Levitt turned the conversation from snap snap asshole to a more productive conversation. I would like every celeb to calm down and do teachable moments with the paparazzi. Yep, it takes time, and it’s not their job, but maybe that would change the track of what’s happening that’s so bad now.

  • caphillprof

    Veering off topic: We have now fairly well succeeded in undercutting the assumption of heterosexuality that has haunted us for centuries. There would have been a time when that paparazzi would require more than simply walking down the street with another guy to imply homosexuality. More would have been required to overcome the assumption of heterosexuality.

    On CBS Sunday Morning today there was a Superbowl commentary by a young guy who said that the Superbowl was the only football game he watched each year and that he had to prepared ahead time to familiarize himself with the teams and the past season in order to come off as one of the boys during the Superbowl party. He felt necessary to inform the audience that he was heterosexual.

  • GeorgeMokray

    William Gibson @GreatDismal on February 2, 2013:

    Theory of celebrity (1 of 4): There is the celebrity, and there is the live human around whom the celebrity has manifested.

    Theory of celebrity (2 of 4): The celebrity may die within the lifespan of the live human (tends to be sad, but not always)…

    Theory of celebrity (3 of 4): …or may (Elvis) long survive the death of the live human. Awkwardness ensues (1) when we confuse…

    Theory of celebrity (4 0f 4): …the live human with the celebrity, or (2) when celebrity’s live human identifies exclusively *as* celebrity.

    The greater a live human’s celebrity, the more painful the oscillation between our very different apprehensions of the two entities.

    A homeopathic dose of celebrity of one’s own makes this easier to observe in self/others, yet confers little immunity to that oscillation.

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