Zombieland's Jesse Eisenberg: 'I'm So Shocked Every Time I Get Into a Movie'
Even after the initial shock wears off, can't you relax and think, "Wow. I really captured something there?"
No. I think I should have done it better or somebody else should have done it. Yeah, you never feel good. And then the times I feel really good after a scene, then I watch it and I'm like, uh, that was boring. From my acting training, you learn to just remain truthful, under what they call "imaginary circumstances." And so the time you feel most truthful is often boring. So often the times you really feel good with a scene don't coincide with the kinds of things one might like as a viewer, you know?
Did you start taking formal acting training after you starred in Rodger Dodger?
No. I was going to Performing Arts School on 48th St. in midtown Manhattan. We had formal acting training there. And I got into that movie because they got me to do a reading of it. The kids in my class were in Raising Victor Vargas, so they were casting for that movie out of our school. So I was studying back then.
It seems like you have trouble, for lack of a better way of putting this, becoming at peace with your craft.
Yeah, that's why I'm in therapy now. I talk about it every week. How to "make peace with the craft." That seems so nebulous. It's like, people who don't study it can get into movies and plays, and people who do study it quite often can't. Friends of mine went to Juilliard and can't get an off-Broadway play, let alone to get a lead role in a movie, and I haven't studied at Juilliard. I mean, it's a very kind of disconcerting profession. If you went to Harvard Medical School, chances are you'll be a doctor at some place. There's a career trajectory. Acting, there's nothing. It's constantly trying to procure jobs -- it's very disconcerting.
Is there a part of you that feels, well, hey, maybe I'm just a natural?
No. Because all "natural" is is basically nothing to fall back on. What is "natural?" It's a lack of any basis for anything. It's frightening. It's really frightening. I always feel like I'm five minutes away from getting kicked out of the hotel room that Sony paid for and having them clear out the minibar because I'm not allowed to take anything else.
Do you think your neuroses will get worse as you get older?
I'm on a strong regimen of pills that will hopefully make it better.
So am I.
How has it been for you?
Pretty good. I mean, sometimes you're just born with this shit and you just gotta make the best of it, you know?
It's funny you should say that, because I've always balked when people make a comment about Jewish neuroses. And yet...and yet.
Yeah. I think there's something there.