Christopher Nolan Trades James Franco For Joseph Gordon-Levitt In ‘Inception’

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is already a successful young actor by any measure, but he’s quickly on his way to becoming a household name. A role in a Christopher Nolan film can only help, and that’s what the “G.I. Joe” star has landed. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gordon-Levitt has signed onto Nolan’s top secret thriller, “Inception.” The young up-and-comer has replaced James Franco, who dropped out of the running due to schedule conflicts.

The cast now includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, and Gordon-Levitt. The plot still remains under lock and key, but it’s been previously reported that DiCaprio plays “a CEO-type” and that Gordon-Levitt will play his associate. Page plays a grad student who is somehow the CEO’s sidekick, and Cotillard plays DiCaprio’s wife.

Murphy’s role is still unspecified. Will he play to his Scarecrow strengths, and be the villain of the piece? Does a sci-fi thriller set “within the architecture of the mind” even have a villain?

“Inception” begins shooting this summer, and it will be interesting to see if the film can manage to keep up the mystery as well as James Cameron’s “Avatar” has. It’s hard to keep plots under wraps in the digital age, and it may be even harder for Nolan. Everyone is watching what the director does next, though it’s mostly to find out whether he drops any “Batman 3″ script notes as he moves away from Gotham City and into the “architecture of the mind.” Will Nolan keep us guessing, or will we know long before it hits theaters in 2010?

Readers, does the secrecy surrounding “Inception” annoy you, or do you like having an unknown idea out on the horizon? What do you think of the cast so far?