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Joseph Gordon-Levitt appears in a still from his 2011 film, Hesher. - Provided courtesy of Wrekin Hill Entertainment / Merrick Morton

Metallica won over by Joseph Gordon-Levitt's performance in 'Hesher'

04/23/2011 by Olivia Allin

Joseph Gordon-Levitt says that Metallica licensed their music to his new film "Hesher" after he showed them clips from the movie.

In "Hesher," Gordon-Levitt plays a troubled metal fan who idolizes former Metallica guitarist Cliff Burton. Burton died in 1986 when the band's tour bus crashed in Sweden.

"They dug the movie," the actor told Conan O'Brien on Thursday. "It was a real honor and I took a lot of inspiration for this character on the basis of some of their early albums, this guy named Cliff Burton, who played on 'Master of Puppets' and 'Ride the Lightning. And when the band saw it, they were like, they even came up with it, they said, 'he reminds us of Cliff,' and we didn't even tell them that's what we were going for. And they let us use their songs and I was actually moved because I grew up headbanging to Metallica."

Metallica has a reputation for being stingy with music licensing for projects. The band famously sued the file sharing service Napster after a demo of their song "I Disappear" was circulated before its official release.

The "Inception" actor admit revealed that he had long hair before prior to being cast in his breakout role on "3rd Rock from the Sun" because he needed hair long enough to headbang. The actor proceeded to teach Conan O'Brien how to headbang on the show, which ended up with the actor tossing over a glass table and breaking a glass vase.

Gordon-Levitt's first roles were in the movies "Beethoven" and "Angels in the Outfield." After his five-year stint on "3rd Rock from the Sun," the actor continued to pursue a film career with roles in "10 Things I Hate About You," "Mysterious Skin," "Brick" and "(500) Days of Summer."

His newest role follows Metal-head Hesher who hates everything except homemade tattoos, cigarettes, fire and blowing things up. He embarks on an unlikely friendship with a troubled boy named T.J. who is being raised by his pill-popping father (Rainn Wilson) at his grandmother's house, following the death of his mother. Hesher mentors T.J. into a less-than-ideal manner of living and a local grocery clerk named Nicole (Natalie Portman) steps in to protect the boy.

"Hesher" is scheduled for release on May 13, 2011. Watch a trailer for the movie below.

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