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The Wholesome Way Robert Zemeckis Coached Joseph Gordon-Levitt To Find His Jiminy Cricket Voice For Pinocchio - Exclusive

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has truly done it all as an actor. Between intense action films, thrillers, rom-coms, and a hefty amount of voice acting, Gordon-Levitt has worked with a talented array of actors and directors. He even has a gentleman's agreement with Rian Johnson — and if that's not a flex, what is? 

When actors reach Gordon-Levitt's caliber of status, they can pick and choose projects that personally speak to them more than many actors in the industry can. But with that privilege, Gordon-Levitt wants to make sure that he's right for all of the roles offered to him rather than taking whatever comes his way. He takes pride in his craft and process, which came in handy when the role of Jiminy Cricket came along in the live-action "Pinocchio" film. 

During an exclusive interview with Looper to discuss the second season of "Wolfboy and the Everything Factory," Gordon-Levitt also touched on his voice acting roles and the wholesome way "Pinocchio" director Robert Zemeckis coached him through his Jiminy Cricket voice.

An expansive voice acting résumé

Joseph Gordon-Levitt took a moment to explain what excites him most about voicing characters like Luxcraft in "Wolfboy and the Everything Factory," Slowen Lo in "The Last Jedi," Detective Hardrock from "Knives Out," and Jiminy Cricket from "Pinocchio." "Getting to do Jiminy Cricket or getting to do ... I got to do the protagonist of 'The Wind Rises' in the English version of Miyazaki's last movie," he said. "Voice acting is liberating because you're not limited by your appearance."

Getting to voice act in so many wondrous worlds is a draw for Gordon-Levitt, who gets to embrace his inner child while doing so. He added, "Acting's a lot like playing pretend when you're a kid, and when you're a kid, you don't worry about what you look like. When you're acting on camera, you have to. But when you're getting to do a voice, you get to be a little closer to that kid whose limits are only of your imagination. You can be a cricket, or you can be a rotund wizard with a violet beard down to your belly, and I love that."

Nailing the Jiminy Cricket voice

Joseph Gordon-Levitt's biggest concern when Robert Zemeckis approached him about taking on the role of Jiminy Cricket was that he isn't great at copying an already established voice. "With Jiminy Cricket, one of the conversations that I hung onto most was early on in the process, when Mr. Zemeckis asked me to do that character," Gordon-Levitt recalled. "I said to him, 'How much do you want it to be like the original? What do you want me to try to do here? Because if you want an imitation of the original, I'm not the best mimic. There are other, better mimics than me.' And he said, 'No, I don't want you to mimic it.'"

The duo came up with a pretty wholesome way for Gordon-Levitt to find his Jiminy Cricket voice, which drew inspiration from the actor's own children. The actor continued, "[Zemeckis] came to, 'Well, you have kids. Pretend you're telling them the story and you're doing the voice, but you're not doing the voice [as] a perfect mimic. You're doing the voice how a dad would, who's telling a story to their kids. It's a little different, and [they] make it their own, but it's still enough so that the kids know who you are.'"

Gordon-Levitt took that process to heart — which is a pretty genius way for actors to find their voice acting takes. He said, "I loved that. I thought that was such a smart piece of direction from Bob. I kept that in my mind the whole time whenever we were recording. I was always imagining telling the story to my kids."

The second season of "Wolfboy and the Everything Factory" is now streaming on Apple TV+.