After I celebrated Jorge Luis Borges (indulging in well-intentioned egotism through interviewing myself) a friend sent me the link to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s short films, Morgan M. Morgansen’s Date with Destiny and Morgan M. Morgansen’s Eleventeenth Date: The Zeppelin Zoo. My friend said that when he first saw the shorts, he thought I had made them. I absolutely loved both films, and I agreed with my friend. In fact, I couldn’t help but wonder if I had made them, perhaps while in a trance.
Genre fiction tells me this is possible. People are always turning out to be other people, ya know? Split personalities, post-hypnotic suggestion, parasitic twins, fun stuff like that!
The whimsical and romantic films mix live action (JGL himself and a gorgeously gothy young woman played by Lexy Hulme) with art and animation in a steampunkish setting. My fondness for things gothy and steampunkish is well established. But the narration? I’m still not sure I didn’t write it. The wordplay, a feast of Unwinish wockjabberry, is so thoroughly up my alley I practically live there. For example, “Capricitous califrag Morgan M. Morgansen stood in the longroom of his fourwalls, narcissising himself in the doubleglass. He horizontalized his neckbow and let a long stream of air out of his facehole. He was ready to lothariate.”
I wrote to JGL immediately, requesting an interview. The text of the email follows:
Having occulated in the not-long thence the charmbabble romanspectacles of Morgan M. Morgansen, I waft glee and flutter about the nervebox. I, Jason Henninger, scribble pontifectory (blog postages, interloquilizations, literatoraty) and quest the pution to one Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Would you be amentative to meet (phonitellically, or true-met over a caffeine in the vicinitode of Hollywood) for a converspective discussification of your cinemantifilm endeavorings?
Please convene at your earlibirdest responderance.
JGL has not, I regret to report, responded. I tried at first not to take the silence personally but have since suspected that he may be some manifestation of my subconscious, which would make a response challenging to produce without resorting to delusions of tylerdurdenic proportions.
Other than the mutual enjoyment of made-up words, there are many reasons to believe that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is my younger, more successful and more handsome alter ego. First, there’s the fact that my ego would never allow for a less successful or less handsome alternate. Second, he’s clearly fond of Jacques Brel, as am I (though it also seems I’ve imagined my alter ego with more musical ability and skill in speaking French than I have). We’re both from Los Angeles, more or less.
There are, I admit, solid reasons to suspect Joseph Gordon-Levitt and I are not the same person. I once briefly met his former 3rd Rock from the Sun costar John Lithgow, but he didn’t recognize me, nor give me a knowing wink that said, “I know your secrets” in that special way I imagine John Lithgow being capable of. Of course, it must be noted that Gordon-Levitt looks and sounds absolutely nothing like me. His charming and affable looks do not resemble my Uzbek mafia enforcer mug. (But hey, does the Hulk look like Bill Bixby?) He’s had a very busy career in film. A quick comparison of our IMDB pages reveals that he has an IMDB page and I don’t. But, if on the off-chance I’ve led a secret double life as the star of several TV shows and notable big budget and indie films, it would at least explain why I’m always tired. Furthermore, he’s Jewish and I’m a Buddhist. But that’s no big deal; Goldie Hawn is both.
Perhaps the most damning evidence against my being Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the fact that his name doesn’t re-arrange into a cool anagram. I know myself well enough to be sure I’d have named my alter ego something that re-arranges into “I’m Actually Jason.” But no, he’s Joseph-Gordon-Levitt, not Jonas C. Lymatulia. Best I can come up with his name is “Jot Not Groveled Hips.”
And so, tallying up the pro and con, I must conclude that Joseph Gordon-Levitt and I are not the same person.
But—and some of you may have noted this already—there is a very important element I have overlooked in my quest. In the course of writing this post, I have learned that it was not, in fact, Joseph Gordon-Levitt who wrote these films!
Ah. I feel much better now (while simultaneously feeling like a jackass for not realizing it sooner) since it is still possible that it was my alter ego. Turns out the stories were written by Sarah Daly! No wonder John Lithgow didn’t recognize me. Let’s see if this adds up, anagramwise. Had Salary. Lardy Ash. A Rash Lady. Damn! Those don’t work. Plus, I’m reasonably sure I’m not a woman. Still, she named her protagonist Morgan. I named my son Morgan! Coincidence?
Come to think of it, maybe JGL didn’t respond to my email because I got the author of the piece wrong in the first place. “Who does this poorly researched fellow think he is?” he may very well have asked, and with good reason. Or maybe he and Ms. Daly are busy having big ol’ Hollywood IMDB lifestyles. Without me.
Well, I applaud them both, even though neither one is in any way me. I salute everyone else who helped make these witty and charming films. They’re exactly what I’d have done, if I had more talent and time and money and ambition.
Jason Henninger has no film career to speak of, though he did write a review of Breathers, a novel which IMDB says is in development as a film with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.