The 75-year-old turned to Gordon-Levitt for help in promoting "Trumpty Dumpty Wanted a Crown: Verses for a Despotic Age" by allowing him to call on members of his collaborative media platform HitRecord to submit audio recordings of two poems from the publication.
They ended up using the submissions to create a pair of animated shorts for "Trumpty Dumpty Wanted a Crown" and "Fake News", while Gordon-Levitt was also among the celebrity pals invited to lend his voice to special video readings of other Lithgow verses to stress the importance of voting in the lead up to Tuesday's (November 03) U.S. presidential election.
Others recruited for the initiative included Meryl Streep, Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Buscemi, Glenn Close, Whoopi Goldberg, Alan Alda, Annette Bening, Kristin Chenoweth and Edie Falco, as well as fellow "3rd Rock" castmates Jane Curtin and Wayne Knight.
Lithgow reveals working on the poetry project enabled him to reconnect with old friends he had lost touch with over the years.
"In this time of COVID, you can't launch a book in a conventional way, so I had the quite unconventional idea of collecting people like Joe and lots of other actor friends, including in fact two others from this 3rd Rock family, Jane Curtin and Wayne Knight, and get them all to simply read my poems...," he told EW.com.
"And one very nice part of the whole process is it's put me in touch with a lot of old friends that I haven't communicated with, let alone collaborated with, in years. And Joe, of course, is one of my favorites."
Lithgow was also full of praise for Gordon-Levitt's work with the HitRecord community of artists.
"I'm just so proud of Joe, it's the surrogate dad in me," he gushed. "He's just created something so wonderful and unusual with HitRecord."
"Trumpty Dumpty Wanted a Crown: Verses for a Despotic Age" is out now.
View the celebrity poetry readings here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5oFx087j4_KrdfQPrVexxA.