Jesse Eisenberg

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Jesse Eisenberg
Jesse Eisenberg by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Eisenberg at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con International
Born Jesse Adam Eisenberg
(1983-10-05) October 5, 1983 (age 32)
Queens, New York, United States
Alma mater The New School
Occupation Actor, playwright, author, humorist
Years active 1996–present
Relatives Hallie Eisenberg (sister)
Kerry Lea (sister)

Jesse Adam Eisenberg (born October 5, 1983) is an American actor, playwright, author, and humorist. He made his television debut with the short-lived comedy-drama series Get Real (1999–2000). Following his first leading role in the comedy-drama film Roger Dodger (2002), he appeared in the drama film The Emperor's Club (2002), the psychological thriller The Village (2004), the comedy-drama The Squid and the Whale (2005), the dark comedy The Living Wake (2007) and the drama The Education of Charlie Banks (2007). In 2007, Eisenberg won the Vail Film Festival Rising Star Award for his role in The Living Wake.[1]

In 2009, he starred in the comedy-drama Adventureland and the horror comedy Zombieland, which earned Eisenberg critical acclaim. He then played Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network (2010), for which he received BAFTA Award, Golden Globe, and Academy Award nominations 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. In October 2011, Eisenberg made his playwriting debut Off-Broadway in Rattlestick Playwrights Theater's production of Asuncion, presented at Cherry Lane Theatre.

Since then, he has gone on to voice the main character, Blu, a male Spix's macaw, in the animated films Rio (2011) and Rio 2 (2014), and starred in the action-comedy 30 Minutes or Less (2011) and the magician caper film Now You See Me (2013). He re-teamed with Kristen Stewart for the action-comedy film American Ultra (2015), and will portray Superman's archenemy and heir to the LexCorp fortune, Alexander "Lex" Luthor, Jr, opposite Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, and Gal Gadot in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, slated for a March 2016 release.[2][3]

Eisenberg has contributed pieces to The New Yorker and McSweeney's magazines.[4] He has written and starred in three plays for the New York stage (as of 2015): Asuncion, The Revisionist, and The Spoils.[5] The most recent of his plays, The Spoils, directed by Scott Elliott and also starring Kunal Nayyar, Michael Zegen, Erin Darke, and Annapurna Sriram, was the winner of The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Theatre Visions Fund Award.[6]

On September 8, 2015,[7] Eisenberg's first book, Bream Gives Me Hiccups, a collection of short humor pieces,[8] was released and has received overwhelmingly laudatory reviews.[9]

Early life[edit]

"...It taught me maybe more about the discipline about performance... Every morning she had a party, she would wake up very early and tune her guitar and warm up her voice, and it taught me that you could take performance seriously. I think a lot of actors have trouble taking things seriously,... but it’s really like anything else in the world... So it gave me the confidence to take it seriously and not make me feel silly for indulging in a role."

— Eisenberg, on the influence his mother's previous job as a children's clown had on his acting[10]

Eisenberg was born in Queens, New York, and grew up there and in East Brunswick Township, New Jersey. His mother, Amy (née Fishman), who now teaches cultural sensitivity in hospitals, previously worked as a clown at children's parties for 20 years.[11][12] His father, Barry Eisenberg, owned and worked at a hospital and later became a college professor, teaching sociology.[13][14][15] 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 Eisenberg, now Kerry Lea,[16] who also worked as an actress[17] and started The Acting Creatively Veg Kids, a children's theatre troupe who "use their passion for compassion to entertain, educate, and change the world"[18] about vegetarianism and animal rights.[18]

Eisenberg was raised in a secular Jewish family[19] that originated in Poland and Ukraine.[20][21] He attended the East Brunswick Public Schools at Frost School, Hammarskjold Middle School, and Churchill Junior High School, and spent his sophomore year at East Brunswick High School.[22] Eisenberg then transferred to the High School of Performing Arts in New York. When he was a senior, he received his breakthrough role in the independent comedy-drama film Roger Dodger.[23]

Eisenberg struggled to fit in at school and began acting in plays at an early age. When he was 7, he starred as Oliver Twist in a children's theater production of the musical Oliver!, and by the age of 13 he was an understudy in the 1996 Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke. Eisenberg made his first professional role in Arje Shaw's off-Broadway play, The Gathering, at the age of 16. He stated, "When playing a role, I would feel more comfortable, as you're given a prescribed way of behaving."[24] After graduating from high school, he studied anthropology at The New School in Greenwich Village, New York City. Eisenberg majored in liberal arts, with a concentration in Democracy and Cultural Pluralism.[25] Originally, he had applied and was accepted to New York University, but declined enrollment in order to complete Roger Dodger.[26][27]

Pre-fame, Eisenberg got into trouble with Woody Allen's lawyers. As a teenager he penned a play about how Woody Allen came to change his name and managed to get the script to Allen's "people". Unfortunately, instead of a seal of approval, Eisenberg received two "cease and desist" letters.[28] In a strange twist of fate, Eisenberg would go on to star in Woody Allen's 2012 film To Rome with Love, as well as the upcoming Untitled Woody Allen film.[29]

Acting career[edit]

Eisenberg at the Madrid premiere of The Social Network, October 2010

Eisenberg made his television debut in the series Get Real, from 1999 to 2000. In 2001, he appeared in a Dr Pepper commercial in the UK as "Butt Naked Boy."[30] 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 starring Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels.[26] In 2007, he starred opposite Richard Gere and Terrence Howard in The Hunting Party, a comic thriller in which he plays an American 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,[31] and the movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009. In November 2007, Eisenberg was cast in the indie comic-drama Holy Rollers alongside his sister, Hallie Eisenberg. He played a young Hasidic Jew who is lured into becoming an ecstasy dealer. Filming took place in New York in 2008.[32] During the late 2000s, he also had roles in the independent films Solitary Man, playing Daniel, and Camp Hell, a horror film directed by George Van Buskirk.[33][34]

Eisenberg's breakthrough starring role was as the neurotic Columbus in Zombieland. The horror-comedy, which saw him with Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin on a roadtrip through a post-zombie apocalypse America, was a surprise hit. In 2010, he starred alongside Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake 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,[35] and nominations for Best Actor at the BAFTA Awards, Golden Globes, Academy Awards. According to the film's director David Fincher, both he and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin knew Eisenberg was the one for the role as soon as they watched his audition tape.[36] On 22 November 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.[20] 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 metropolitan, domesticated male Spix's macaw who learns how to fly, starring alongside Anne Hathaway, his former co-star (and onscreen sibling) from Get Real, as well as George Lopez, Jake T. Austin, Tracy Morgan, Jemaine Clement, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, and Jamie Foxx. He sang one song, "Real in Rio", in the movie's soundtrack, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. He also starred alongside Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, and Nick Swardson in 30 Minutes or Less, a film noir heist comedy about a pizza delivery man, played by Eisenberg, who is forced to rob a bank, which was released in 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, which was directed by Kip Fagan. The play highlights two liberal-minded friends, played by Eisenberg and Justin Bartha, whose assumptions are challenged by their new Filipina roommate, played by Camille Mana.[37][38]

In 2012, he starred alongside Melissa Leo in Why Stop Now, a drama about a drug addict mother and her piano prodigy son,[39] and in the magical realist romantic comedy To Rome with Love, directed by Woody Allen. That same year, he filed a $3 million lawsuit against the producers of the 2010 direct-to-DVD movie Camp Hell, claiming exploitation. According to the lawsuit, Eisenberg agreed to appear in the film as a favor to his friends. He was on set for one day of filming in 2007, earned about $3,000,[40] and logged only a few minutes of total screentime.[41] Because of his minimal involvement in the production, 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.[42]

In 2013, Eisenberg reunited with Woody Harrelson for the magician caper thriller Now You See Me, playing a world-famous close-up magician and street performer recruited into a secret group of elite magicians to pull off bank heists with magic tricks, redistributing the money from a wealthy businessman (Michael Caine) to victims of his corrupt capitalist schemes. That year he announced his plan to continue writing, for both stage and screen, as well as continuing to act.[43] He starred in Richard Ayoade's drama, The Double, which was shot in 2012,[44] and reprised his role as Blu in Rio 2 (2014).[45] He starred alongside Kristen Stewart in the action comedy American Ultra (2015), playing a rogue sleeper agent being chased by the C.I.A.[46]

The sequel to Now You See Me, Now You See Me: The Second Act, is set to premiere June 10, 2016.[47] Eisenberg will reprise his role as street magician J. Daniel "Danny" Atlas.[47]

In January 2014, Warner Bros. announced that Eisenberg had been cast in the role as Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, set to release in March 2016.[2] As part of a viral marketing campaign to promote the film, a fictional write-up of the “new” LexCorp on Fortune, stylized as a magazine profile and published October 5, 2015, revealed that Lex Luthor's full name is Alexander Luthor, Jr.[3] In the interview, Luthor is described as “a 31-year-old wunderkind who transformed an aging petrochemical and heavy machinery dinosaur into a tech darling of the Fortune 500 in what some call a superhuman feat.”[3]

Eisenberg is currently filming the 2016 untitled Woody Allen project, a comedy-drama film, marking his second collaboration with the writer-director. It is also his third time starring alongside Kristen Stewart.[29] Other cast members include Jeannie Berlin, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Steve Carell, Corey Stoll, Ken Stott, and Tony Sirico.[29][48][49][3] Principal photography on the film began on August 17, 2015 in and around Los Angeles.[50] On September 8, 2015, filming moved to New York City,[51] where it was shot in Brooklyn.[52] This film marks Allen's first venture into digital cinematography.[53]

Personal life[edit]

Eisenberg is fond of cats and has been involved in fostering animals.[54] He is a vegetarian, and was vegan for a short period of time.[55] He has been associated with Farm Sanctuary and has presented at several of their galas.[56] Eisenberg's short story "Marv Albert is My Therapist" appeared in The New Yorker in 2013.[57] Eisenberg has written other short humor pieces for The New Yorker's "Shouts & Murmurs" column, as well as for McSweeney's.[58] These pieces, as well as others, were included in Eisenberg's debut novel, Bream Gives Me Hiccups, which was released on September 8, 2015.[7] He dated Anna Strout, Director of Events and Special Projects for the Urban Arts Partnership in New York, and an actress, from 2002-2012.[59] In 2013, he began dating his The Double co-star Mia Wasikowska.[60][61]

While filming The Hunting Party in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2006, Eisenberg came up with an idea for a simple wordplay website, OneUpMe, 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. The userbase is built solely off Facebook.[62]

Eisenberg has obsessive–compulsive disorder and is open about it. He said of his condition: "I touch the tips of my fingers in a weird way; I don't step on cracks; if I'm going onto a new surface - be it carpet to concrete, or concrete to wood, or wood to concrete, any new surface - I have to make sure all parts of my feet touch the ground equally before I touch that new thing. So I'll often hesitate before walking into a new room."[63]

In September 2015, Eisenberg announced that, starting November, he would match donations made to Middle Way House, a domestic violence shelter in Bloomington, Indiana, up to $100,000 through the end of 2015. All contributions made will go towards the organization's mortgage payment fund that will be matched by a committee lead by Eisenberg.[64] Founded in 1971, Middle Way provides shelter for women and children fleeing violence at home. "It's an incredible collective," Eisenberg told a reporter. "It's the kind of place where the residents go through their wonderful program and end up working there. It's saved so many lives."[65] Eisenberg is also a cast member with Theater of War, a performing arts non-profit that presents readings of Sophocles’ Ajax and Philoctetes to military and civilian communities across the United States and Europe.[66] "As an actor, sometimes you feel limited by the role you're in; stories without much meaning. [Theatre of War] allows you do something that has more substance and benefits people... It's a greater purpose than just entertainment," Eisenberg said of the organization.[67]



Year Title Role Notes
2001 Lightning: Fire from the Sky Eric Dobbs Television film
2002 Roger Dodger Nick San Diego Jewish Film Festival Award for Most Promising New Actor

Tribeca Film Festival Best Narrative Feature

VIFVF Award for Best Feature

2002 Emperor's Club, TheThe Emperor's Club Louis Masoudi
2004 Village, TheThe Village Jamison ASCAP Award for Top Box Office Films

Nominated—Golden Trailer Award for Best Thriller

Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie: Thriller

2005 Squid and the Whale, TheThe Squid and the Whale Walt Berkman Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast

Nominated—Awards Circuit Community Award (ACCA) for Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominated—Awards Circuit Community Award (ACCA) for Best Cast Ensemble

Nominated—Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor

Nominated—OFTA Film Award for Best Breakthrough Performance - Male

Nominated—OFTA Film Award for Best Music, Adapted Song ("Hey You")

Nominated—DFWFCA Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Young Performer
Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male Film Debut

2005 Cursed Jimmy Myers
2007 Education of Charlie Banks, TheThe Education of Charlie Banks Charlie Banks Tribeca Film Festival Made in NY Narrative Award
2007 Hunting Party, TheThe Hunting Party Benjamin Strauss
2007 One Day Like Rain Mark Honorable Mention Grand Jury Award at Dances With Films
2007 Living Wake, TheThe Living Wake Mills Joaquin Vail Film Festival Rising Star Award

Woodstock Film Festival Audience Award for Narrative Feature

Big Apple Film Festival Best Feature Film Award

Austin Film Festival Comedic Vision Award

2009 Some Boys Don't Leave Boy Short film

Rhode International Film Festival Second Prize for Best Short Film

Woodstock Film Festival Honourable Mention for Best Student Short

Nominated—Chicago International Film Festival Gold Hugo for Best Short Film

2009 Adventureland James Brennan Nominated—Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Breakout – Male
2009 Beyond All Boundaries Lt. Fiske Hanley / Sgt. Benjamin McKinney (voice) Short film
2009 Zombieland Columbus Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Actor

Scream Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated—Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Frightened Performance
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Breakout – Male

2010 Holy Rollers Sam Gold Deauville American Film Festival Cartier Revelation Prize

Nominated—Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize

2010 Camp Hell Daniel Jacobs Direct-to-DVD
2010 Solitary Man Daniel Cheston Capri Exploit Award
2010 Social Network, TheThe Social Network Mark Zuckerberg Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Hollywood Film Festival Award for Ensemble of the Year
Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Irish Film and Television Award for Best International Actor
National Board of Review Award for Best Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Village Voice Film Poll Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Awards Circuit Community Award for Best Actor
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated—Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Denver Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Empire Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Gold Derby Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—IGN Movie Award for Best Movie Actor
Nominated—Indiana Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—International Cinephile Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Iowa Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Nominated—London Critics Circle Film Award for Actor of the Year
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Male Performance
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Line from a Movie
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Palm Springs International Film Festival Award for Ensemble Cast
Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated—San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated—San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble Performance
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated—St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Actor – Drama
Nominated—Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
2011 Rio Blu (voice) Annie Award for Best Character Animation in an Animated Production

Nominated—Academy Award for Best Original Song ("Real in Rio")

Nominated—Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Animated Movie

Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Animated Film

2011 30 Minutes or Less Nick Davis
2012 Why Stop Now Eli Bloom Feature-length adaptation of 2008 short film Predisposed
2012 Free Samples Tex
2012 To Rome with Love Jack Award of the Argentinean Academy for Best Foreign Film
2013 He's Way More Famous Than You Himself Nominated—Cleveland International Film Festival Best American Independent Feature Film

Nominated—Dallas International Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature

Nominated—Slamdance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature

2013 Now You See Me J. Daniel "Danny" Atlas People's Choice Award for Favorite Thriller Movie

Nominated—Empire Award for Best Thriller

Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Thriller Film

2013 Night Moves Josh Stamos Grand Prix Deauville American Film Festival
2014 The Double Simon James / James Simon Abu Dhabi Film Festival for Best Actor

Nominated—London Film Festival Award for Best Film

Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Foreign Film

Nominated—Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival Grand Prize

Nominated—Tokyo International Film Festival Grand Prix

2014 Rio 2 Blu (voice)[68] Nominated—Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Animated Movie

Nominated—People's Choice Award for Favorite Family Movie

Nominated—British Academy Children's Award for BAFTA Kid's Vote - Film in 2014

2015 The End of the Tour David Lipsky New York Times Critics' Pick
Sarasota Film Festival Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature

Film Club Lost Weekend's Most Talked About Movie
Pending—Indiana Film Journalists Association Award for Best Supporting Actor

2015 Louder Than Bombs Jonah Norwegian Film Critics Award - Honorable Mention

Nominated—Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival

Nominated—Stockholm Film Festival Bronze Horse for Best Film

Nominated—Munich Film Festival ARRI/OSRAM Award for Best International Film

2015 American Ultra Mike Howell
2016 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Alexander "Lex" Luthor, Jr. Completed
2016 Now You See Me: The Second Act J. Daniel "Danny" Atlas Post-production
2016 Untitled Woody Allen film James Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1999–2000 Get Real Kenny Green 22 episodes
Nominated—Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Series – Young Ensemble

Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Drama

Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Breakout TV Show

2011 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Jesse Eisenberg/Nicki Minaj"
2012 The Newsroom Eric Neal (voice) Uncredited
Episode: "We Just Decided To"
2014 Modern Family Asher Episode: "Under Pressure"


Year Title Role Theatre Notes Refs
1996 Summer and Smoke Young John (Understudy) Criterion Center Stage Right
1999 The Gathering Michael Playhouse 91 Credited as Jesse Adam Eisenberg [69]
2007 Scarcity Billy Linda Gross Theater
2011 Asuncion Edgar Rattlestick Playwrights Theater production at Cherry Lane Theatre Also playwright [70]
2013 The Revisionist David Rattlestick Playwrights Theater production at Cherry Lane Theatre Also playwright [71]
2015 The Spoils Ben The New Group at Pershing Square Signature Center, The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre Also playwright

The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Theatre Visions Fund Award



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