How Joseph Gordon-Levitt Recruited Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling & More for 'Hit Record on TV' Season 2
By Leanne Aguilera
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"Are we recording?"
And with those three little words, one of the most unique series on television is headed back to our screens! Season two of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Emmy award-winning series Hit Record on TV premieres tonight at 7:30 p.m. EST on Pivot, and we could not be more excitedto see the new one-of-a-kind episodes.
ETonline caught up with Gordon-Levitt -- Hit Record on TV's creator, executive producer, and star -- to get the inside scoop on how he recruited Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, and many more of his famous friends to join him on screen this season.
Plus, Gordon-Levitt sounds off on Hollywood's lack of originality problem, and why season two of Hit Record on TV is your can't-miss Friday night event.
ETonline: For the fans who have not yet discovered Hit Record on TV, is season two something they can jump right into?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Oh definitely! I loved season one, but I think season two is better because it's a show that doesn’t really have a formula. There really isn't any other show like it, and so we've been figuring it out as we've gone -- and I think in season two, we nailed it. It's not like there's a plot from one episode to the next that you'll be missing if you haven't seen the previous episodes. It's a variety show. There's short films, there's cartoons, there's songs, there's documentaries, and every episode is different and about a different theme, so you can jump in anytime you want.
Season one had some really great guest stars, who can we expect to see in season two?
JGL: In the first episode, Mindy Kaling wrote and stars in one of the short films. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg wrote one of the short films. Ben Schwartz co-wrote with me and stars in one of the short films. Annie Hathaway and I play obnoxious and self-important superheroes in one of the comedy shorts.
We're excited to see so many of your famous friends are taking part in season two. What's your "elevator pitch" to convince them to come on to an episode of Hit Record on TV?
JGL: My elevator pitch? [Laughs] Hmm… we can do something that you're not normally allowed to do. Let's have fun and we can work with people that aren't just your normal Hollywood usual suspects. We can work with anybody from all over the world who wants to come join and it's really, really fun. Let's just do it!
What we love so much about the show is it's wildly original. So we wanted to get your opinion on all of the reboots that are coming up and all of the remakes of things and how you think that affects Hollywood?
JGL: I'm not necessarily against a reboot or a sequel. I mean, if you can bring something new to it, then great! But let's be honest, a lot of what's on television isn't there because it's creative. It's not something that someone really cares about. It's just kind of a, 'Here's a formula. We know we can make money if we follow this formula. so let's do it.' And with [Hit Record on TV], there isn't a formula, and if we wanted to make money, this isn’t the way to do it. [Laughs] This is not what we would probably do, but it's something I care about very much. It’s a project that I started many years ago with my brother, and it's grown into this bigger thing. I love it, and I care very deeply for it, and I think you can tell that when you watch it.
You've got some really fun themes this year such as 'Darkness', 'Secrets', 'The Number Two', etc. What's your process like for selecting each season's themes?
JGL: So the process for finding the themes is the same for our entire production process. It's this open, collaborative thing that we do on our site. So finding the themes for each episode, we just go on our site and say, 'Hey everybody. Let's come up with suggestions for themes!' and we get a couple thousand suggestions. Then the community starts going through them and based on who's recommending and what is resonating with all different people, I can kind of look at the cream rising to the top. So it's really not about just me, and it's really not about just a room full of Hollywood writers. Our whole point is just trying to open it up as much as we can to as many perspectives from all over the world.
How does it feel knowing that you're giving thousands of people, all around the world, a chance to be a part of Hit Record on TV?
JGL: I think that for any artist, if you can inspire creativity in someone else, that's one of the most valiant things you can do. That's kind of the point of Hit Record. It's don’t just sit and watch let's all make something together and so when people do it, it makes me feel good.
Like you've said, this show features so many different elements -- short films, cartoons, songs, etc. -- all in one episode. What are you favorite parts of each episode you produce?
JGL: It's just that, it's the eclectic mix -- because that's how I am. Maybe it's because I have a short attention span, or maybe it's because I have a taste for variety. But I love watching something that's going to make me laugh, and then the next second watching something that's going to make me think, and then the next second watching something that is going to make me cry. That to me is a good half hour.
Hit Record on TV premieres tonight at 7:30 p.m. EST on Pivot.