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A Brain-Damaged Hero
At the heart of THE LOOKOUT's building tension and intensity is Chris Pratt, a young man whose very life has become an insoluble mystery without any clues, even before he becomes involved in a bank heist.

Still in the early stages of recovery from a severe brain injury, Chris battles with the basic things the rest of us take for granted – what to say, who to remember, even how to make dinner. But, as Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays him, he is also a man who harbors much more inside him that it appears, a man desperately in search of who he really might be in life. He might look like a patsy, like a nobody, like the guy that other people can use, but he proves that he's much more than that.

Writer-director Scott Frank searched endlessly for an actor who could turn Chris into a real human being in a palpably tough predicament, who could make the role raw, moving and even funny at times, without a drop of sentiment or the maudlin. In the beginning, he wasn't entirely sure what he was looking for. "I never have preconceived ideas in my head when I write because you'd be disappointed if you don't get who you had in my mind for the character. So I actually often write with dead actors in mind,” he admits.

Now, however, he needed someone very much alive who could handle all the complexities of the part – a risk-taker with his own ideas. After a year of searching and endless auditions in vain, he'd nearly given up.

"I thought I'd seen just about everyone,” says Frank, "but then I saw a trailer for ‘Mysterious Skin' with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and I thought ‘I don't think I've seen that guy.' When he came into my office, there was just no longer a question. I knew instantly he was going to be in the movie. Most people I'd auditioned had a tendency to play to Chris's disability, to really emphasize everything that's wrong with him. But what Joe did that was so different and daring was to simply bring a profound stillness to character. He was so quiet and still, that alone was haunting. You didn't feel you were watching someone mimic a head injury -- it was much more powerful and real.”

Says Walter Parkes of Gordon-Levitt: "We've all been kind of waiting for the next generation of great American actors and I think Joe is a part of that. His technique is completely naturalistic and invisible.”

Adds Mark: "The danger of this role was always that it might be over-done, but Joe shows that less is more by painting a very powerful portrait with very few brushstrokes.”

A former child actor, Gordon-Levitt is perhaps best known for his role as Tommy Solomon in the oft-acclaimed, long-running sitcom "3rd Rock From the Sun.” His films include A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, THE JUROR, 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU, MANIC and MYSTERIOUS SKIN and he most recently took the lead role in the critically praised indie BRICK, which drew a number of awards in 2006. But THE LOOKOUT pushed him in ways no other role had before.

Right away, Gordon-Levitt knew THE LOOKOUT was going to be different. "It's rare that I get a script I want to read all the way to the end,” he comments. "But this script was just so well written and every character was such a full human being, it made me excited to be an actor. With Chris Pratt, Scott Frank had created a hero who has so many layers to him, who is so complicated, there's no one way to feel about him.”

He continues: "The movie also blends two kind of stories that don't usually go together. On the one hand you have this kind of fun, exciting bank robbery and on the other you have these heartfelt, in-depth characters. I think it's the humanity of the characters that makes the heist part so much more interesting.”

Gordon-Levitt found that the more he examined Chris's character, the more thought provoking, and relatable, he and his frightening predicament becam

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