The 10-episode comedy series debuts on Apple TV+ Aug. 6.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt isn't playing himself in Mr. Corman, but he's not not playing himself. Suffice it to say, it's no coincidence that his character's name, Josh Corman, sounds a bit like "Joe Gordon."

"This character is like if I had some different luck and made some different choices," explains Gordon-Levitt, who also created the "slice of life" comedy series, debuting Aug. 6 on Apple TV+. Like the Inception star, Josh grew up in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley, attended Van Nuys High School, and "is an artist at heart," but unlike his real-life counterpart, his artistic ambitions haven't worked out so well.

"He's not getting to do his art for a living; he's teaching fifth grade," Gordon-Levitt says of Josh, who aspires to a career as a musician. "He loves teaching, but he also wrestles with the insecurities that come with being an artist, wondering, 'Am I good, is my art meaningful, am I just kidding myself, am I bad, am I stupid, am I meaningless?' "

Meanwhile, Josh has broken up with his fiancée Megan (Ted Lasso's Juno Temple) and his high school friend Victor (Broad City's Arturo Castro) has moved in in her place. (Debra Winger, Logic, and Shannon Woodward also star.) Victor is another character drawn from real life, an "amalgamation" of Gordon-Levitt's own old friends.

Mr. Corman
Arturo Castro and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 'Mr. Corman.'
| Credit: Apple

"I'm still close with a group of friends from high school, and I feel really lucky to still have them in my life," the actor says. "These guys are such a huge part of me, and a lot of who they are is in both Victor and Josh."

In case it wasn't clear, this show comes from a deeply personal place for its creator-star, who also directed most of the season's 10 episodes.

"Mr. Corman is probably the most distilled expression of myself that I've ever managed to achieve," says Gordon-Levitt. "I always wanted it to come from a heartfelt place. My favorite shows on TV, that I really gravitate to, are ones that really come from the heart. Mr. Corman is my go at that, and sometimes it's funny and sometimes it's sad and sometimes it's weird and sometimes it's beautiful, but it's always really heartfelt."

After all: "'Core' means heart," he adds. "And he's Mr. Corman."

Mr. Corman
Credit: Anne Marie Fox/Apple

Gordon-Levitt announced the series Monday on social media, as the kick-off to Teacher Appreciation Week. 'Teachers deserve all the gratitude & glory - way more than actors," he wrote in a post where he celebrated some of the most influential teachers in his life.

"Teaching is a true art form. I've actually always been drawn to the idea of being a teacher," he continued. "And in fact, I'm writing/directing/acting in a show where I play one (called Mr. Corman, coming out on Apple TV+ August 6). One of my biggest hopes for the show is if anybody watching feels inspired to become a teacher themselves. What could be more important than teaching the next generation of humans how to think, how to learn, how to strive. So for all of you teachers out there, just wanted to say, we love you, and thank you."

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