Jesse Eisenberg in October 2010
|Born||Jesse Adam Eisenberg
October 5, 1983
Queens, New York, U.S.
|Relatives||Hallie Kate Eisenberg (sister)|
Jesse Adam Eisenberg (born October 5, 1983) is an American actor and playwright. He made his screen debut with the comedy-drama television series Get Real, from 1999 to 2000. After his first leading role, in the film Roger Dodger (2002), he appeared in the movies The Emperor's Club (2002), The Squid and the Whale (2005), The Living Wake (2007) and The Education of Charlie Banks (2007).
In 2007, Eisenberg was honored with the Vail Film Festival Rising Star Award for his role as Mills Joquin in The Living Wake. In 2009, he starred in the comedy drama Adventureland and the horror comedy Zombieland, for which he won critical acclaim. He then played Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network (2010), for which he received a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination in the Best Actor category. He also starred in Holy Rollers (2010), which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Since then, he has voiced the main character in the animated film Rio (2011), and starred in the comedy 30 Minutes or Less (2011) and the caper film Now You See Me (2013). He will once again voice Blu in Rio 2, which is scheduled for a 2014 release.
Eisenberg was born in Queens, New York, and grew up in Queens and East Brunswick Township, New Jersey. His mother, Amy (née Fishman), worked as a clown at children's parties, and his father, Barry Eisenberg, worked at a hospital and later became a college professor. He has two sisters Hallie Kate Eisenberg, a former child actress who was once famous as the "Pepsi girl" in a series of commercials, and Kerri. He was raised in a secular Jewish family that originated in Poland and Ukraine. He attended the East Brunswick Public Schools at Frost School, Hammarskjold Middle School, Churchill Junior High School; he spent his sophomore year at East Brunswick High School.
Eisenberg struggled to fit in at school and began acting in plays at the age of 10. He stated, "When playing a role, I would feel more comfortable, as you're given a prescribed way of behaving." After graduating from high school, he studied anthropology at The New School in Greenwich Village, New York City. Originally, he had applied and was accepted to New York University, but declined enrollment in order to complete a film role.
Eisenberg's first professional role was in Arje Shaw's off-Broadway play, The Gathering. Eisenberg made his Broadway debut as an understudy in a 1996 revival of Summer and Smoke. He made his screen debut in the 1999 television series Get Real, which was canceled in 2000. In 2001, Eisenberg appeared in a Dr. Pepper commercial in the UK. After appearing in the made-for-television film Lightning: Fire from the Sky, he starred in the independent film Roger Dodger (for which he won an award at the San Diego film festival), and in The Emperor's Club, both of which were released in 2002 to generally positive reviews.
In 2005, Eisenberg appeared in Cursed, a horror film directed by Wes Craven, and The Squid and the Whale, a well-reviewed independent drama also starring Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels. In 2007, he starred opposite Richard Gere and Terrence Howard in The Hunting Party, a comic thriller in which he plays a young journalist in Bosnia. In 2009, Eisenberg played the lead role in Adventureland, a comedy directed by Greg Mottola and filmed in Kennywood Park near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Filming ended in October 2007, and the movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009. In November 2007, Eisenberg was cast in the indie comic-drama Holy Rollers. He played a young Hasidic Jew who gets lured into becoming an ecstasy dealer. Filming took place in New York in 2008. During the late 2000s, he also had roles in the independent films Solitary Man, playing Cheston, and Camp Hope, a horror film directed by George Van Buskirk.
Eisenberg's breakthrough starring role was as the neurotic Columbus in Zombieland. The horror comedy, which paired him with Woody Harrelson on a roadtrip through a post-zombie apocalypse America, was a surprise hit. In 2010, he starred alongside Andrew Garfield in the role of Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg in the film The Social Network, for which he earned the Best Actor Award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, and nominations for Best Actor at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards.
On November 22, 2010, Eisenberg was honored, along with Whoopi Goldberg, Joycelyn Engle and Harvey Krueger, at the Children at Heart Celebrity Dinner Gala and Fantasy Auction, to benefit The Children of Chernobyl. Steven Spielberg is Chair of the event each year. On January 29, 2011, Eisenberg hosted Saturday Night Live on NBC, with musical guest Nicki Minaj. During his opening monologue, Eisenberg was joined by Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.
In 2011, he starred in the box-office animated hit Rio, as the main character Blu, a Spix's Macaw who learns how to fly, starring alongside Anne Hathaway, his former co-star (and onscreen sibling) from Get Real, George Lopez, Jake T. Austin, Tracy Morgan, Jemaine Clement, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, will.i.am, and Jamie Foxx. He contributed his singing voice for one of the songs in the soundtrack, "Real in Rio". He also starred in 30 Minutes or Less, released August 2011.
In October 2011, Eisenberg made his playwriting debut Off-Broadway in Rattlestick Playwrights Theater's production of Asuncion, presented at Cherry Lane Theatre. Eisenberg also acted in the play that was directed by Kip Fagan. The play highlights two liberal-minded friends whose assumptions are challenged by their new Filipina roommate, played by Camille Mana.
In 2012, he starred alongside Melissa Leo in Why Stop Now, a drama about a drug addict mother and her piano prodigy son, and in the romantic comedy To Rome with Love. Also in 2012, he filed a $3 million lawsuit claiming he was exploited by the producers of the direct-to-DVD movie, Camp Hell. According to the lawsuit, in 2007 Eisenberg agreed to appear in Camp Hell as a favor to his friends. He was on set for only one day of filming, and logged only a few minutes of total screen time. Because he was only minimally involved in the movie, he was surprised to see that his face was prominently featured on the cover of the DVD, implying that he starred in the film. His lawsuit asserts various California law causes of action, including claims for unfair business practices and publicity rights.
In 2013, Eisenberg reunited with Woody Harrelson for the magician crime thriller Now You See Me. Eisenberg plans to write for stage and screen. He has joined the cast of Richard Ayoade's comedy, The Double, set to shoot in spring or summer 2012. Deadline.com reported that he has signed up to reprise his role as Blu for Rio 2, which is scheduled for a 2014 release. In November 2013, it was announced that he will star alongside Kristen Stewart in American Ultra, a black comedy.
Eisenberg is fond of cats and has been involved in fostering the animals. He is a vegetarian. He has been associated with Farm Sanctuary and has presented at several of their galas. He has also mentioned enjoying riding his bicycle in New York City.
While filming The Hunting Party in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2006, Eisenberg came up with an idea for a simple wordplay website where people could respond to a daily wordplay topic in an attempt to "one-up" each other in the cleverness of their response. He turned to his first cousin, Eric Fisher, who, incidentally, most recently was the Social Design evangelist at Facebook, to create the site, while the userbase is built solely off Facebook.
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