Joseph Gordon-Levitt began his acting career in 1988, and he worked consistently until 2017 when, apart from the odd bit part or narrator gig, he stopped showing up onscreen.
Gordon-Levitt revealed why in an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, and it’s the best possible reason.
The star of Angels in the Outfield and Inception said that he took about three years off from acting to spend time with his young sons, who are now five and three years old.
“I just felt really lucky I got to do that,” Gordon-Levitt told Corden. “I am in the very fortunate position, I was able to have that for myself.”
“There are some parts of the world that give a lot of paternity leave, where the government thinks it’s so important that dads get to spend time with their babies, there’s government-paid paternity leave,” he pointed out. “I wish there was more of that in this country.”
Gordon-Levitt did admit that he didn’t entirely stop working. “I stayed busy. I did some other stuff. You know I have my Hit Record company that I still was working on. So I was doing some work, but yeah, I don’t know, man, it was a delight.”
The important factor, then, isn’t not doing any work. It’s having the ability to choose not to do any work and, if you don’t make that choice, to fit whatever work you do want to do around the time you need to spend parenting.
“I was a real workaholic before I did this. I just never, ever turned off and it was great to just, you know, make it not about me for a while,” he said before throwing on what might be called a demonic expression.
“And now it’s all about me again! I’m in movies! We’re number one on Netflix! Me, me, me!” he joked.
He’s referring to Project Power, a new superhero movie (and Gordon-Levitt’s triumphant return from paternity leave) that you can stream on Netflix now