I think I have to take exception with those who call Jesse Eisenberg a less funny version of Michael Cera. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Michael Cera. But while Cera is an adorable nerd I find Jesse Eisenberg more of an intellectual, socially awkward nerd. Yeah, I realize there isn’t much difference between the two. We’re pretty much comparing apples to apples. Let’s instead talk about how cool Jesse Eisenberg is and why he’s One2Watch4. We will include audio-visual aids so strap those pocket protectors down, we’re going in!
Growing up in Queens and New Jersey young Eisenberg joined the famed acting troupe The Broadway Kids, and I quote, “to avoid going to school.” What he found instead was his entrance into some off-Broadway plays, which he still does. Things began to open up for Jesse: a short-lived TV series and a role while finishing his senior year, in an indie called Roger Dodger (2002) with Campbell Scott. Once he got that one and got noticed that lead to…well another indie, The Squid and The Whale (2005). After turning in such a terrific performance in such a critically acclaimed film the huge offers just came pouring in. One such offer was for Superbad director Greg Mottola’s Adventureland with Kristen Stewart (which grossed $17 million worldwide compared to Superbad’s $170 million). Are you sensing a trend here? Eisenberg is pretty select about what he does.
But I hear you nay-sayers: “So what’s up with Zombieland?” Is it possible that a blockbuster movie about a world full of Zombies can have well developed characters as well as action and humor? Well according to Jesse it can. That, he says was a big appeal to the project. Yeah, I’m not sure I believe it either. I think he was excited about blowing away the undead. You can only play the nerd so many times before you want to kick some ass. But if Zombies don’t have you rolling the in aisles there’s Holy Rollers, with Justin Bartha (Riley in the National Treasure series), about young Orthodox Jews who begin to sell ecstasy that should bring a smile to your face. Jesse’s younger sister, former child actress Hallie Kate Eisenberg has a part in Holly Rollers as well. No release date for that yet. Two additional future projects of note: The Social Network has Jesse playing one of the founding members of Facebook along side Justin Timberlake and Kill Your Darlings with Chris Evans and Ben Whishaw as the trio of Beat poets Allen Ginsburg (Eisenberg), Jack Kerouac (Evans) and Lucien Carr (Whishaw). Now you can’t tell me that won’t be interesting.
Reading through some interviews with the Jesse I was impressed at how on top of things this young actor is. It should be said at this juncture that Jesse is currently wrapping up a liberal arts degree at The New School in New York, in between all these acting jobs he keeps getting. Ah the value of an education. His ultimate career goal: he’s like to be a playwright. Now getting back to the Michael Cera comparisons, clearly there’s room in Hollywood for more than one stammering, a-dorkable geek. Otherwise Jon Heder would never act again. So while Michael is off making bigger films like Year One, we’ll leave it to Jesse to represent in smaller independent films. It’s a decidedly unglamorous job but someone’s got to “nut up or shut up.”
Zombieland opens Friday October 2nd.
Adventureland now available on DVD.
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