Entertainment
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
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Entertainment
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News.
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
social
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Jesse Eisenberg

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Famous For:
Adventureland, Zombieland, and The Social Network
Networth:
$10 Million
Currently Known For:
Actor, Author, and Playwright
Famous Years:
2000s - Present
Birthdate:
October 5, 1983
Jesse Eisenberg


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  famous for:
Adventureland, Zombieland, and The Social Network

  networth:
$10 Million

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“The joy of acting for me is to be able to experience emotions in a safe environment. You can’t scream and cry in the street because everybody will look. If you do it on a movie set, you get applauded.” Following his sisters into acting in the late 1990s, Jesse Eisenberg has spent the last two decades proving his talents as an actor, author, and playwright. He made his television debut in the short-lived series Get Real (1999-2000) and then turned his attention to the silver screen in Roger Dodger (2002). His breakthrough came in 2009 when he starred in Adventureland and Zombieland shortly before he gave a stellar performance as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network in 2010. So, how did the 35-year-old Queens native end up in Hollywood?

1980s to Stardom

The only son of three children born to a college professor and a former children’s clown turned choreographer, Jesse Eisenberg made his debut into the world on October 5, 1983, in Queens, New York. His mother’s work as a clown at children’s parties made a lasting impression on the youngster and his sisters, all of whom ventured into acting at an early age. “It taught me about the discipline of performance,” Eisenberg said of his mother. “Every morning she had a duck 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.”

Taking a cue from his mother, Eisenberg started acting at a young age after struggling to fit in at school due to his anxiety disorder. Acting gave him the freedom to express himself but, even then, he didn’t think he was talented. “I was not good in any of it. I was just there because my sister was doing it and I wanted to be with her,” he said of his early work in children’s theater. “The best moment of my childhood was when my friend told me I was ‘as funny as Steve Urkel.’ I’m serious,” he said. “Because until then, I never thought of myself as funny. I thought of my older sister as funny. It was, like, the first time anybody validated that for me.”

Eisenberg’s sense of humor carried him through his early years as an actor. He was an understudy in the 1996 Broadway revival of Summer and Smoke and later made his theatrical debut at the age of 16 in the Off-Broadway production of The Gathering. Around this time, he started writing screenplays of his own, a few of which were optioned by major studios. However, Eisenberg wasn’t thrilled with losing control of the scripts and struggled to share the majority of his work. Instead, he focused on acting and made his television debut in the short-lived series Get Real (1999-2000).

Appearing in the television film Lightning: Fire from the Sky (2001), Eisenberg made his feature film debut in Roger Dodger (2002), which earned him a San Diego Film Festival Award for Most Promising New Actor. He followed up with credits in The Emperor’s Club (2002), Cursed (2005), The Squid and the Whale (2005), and The Hunting Party (2007) starring Richard Gere before he stunned audiences with his performances in Adventureland (2009) and Zombieland (2009), the latter of which cast him opposite Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone. Then, in 2010, he reached even greater fame when he played Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, which earned him numerous award nominations.

“The Social Network was just a bigger movie with more specific expectations,” Eisenberg said of the film. “And so, as an actor, you’re more conscious of those expectations and it necessarily feels less personal. Even if it’s of a high quality, which of course that was, you just feel like it’s impossible to have that real connection.”

Although Eisenberg freely admitted his struggle, he didn’t shy away from bigger projects like voicing Blue in Rio (2011). He joined Aziz Ansari in 0 Minutes or Less (2011), Melissa Leo in Why Stop Now (2012), and was directed by Woody Allen in To Rome with Love (2012). He teamed up with Woody Harrelson in Now You See Me (2013) and successfully debuted his play, The Revisionist, in addition to reprising his role as Blu in Rio 2 (2014). His third play, The Spoils, premiered Off-Broadway and earned numerous awards for its run at The New Group Perishing Square Signature Center Alice Griffin Box Theatre.

“So, normally I’d be sitting at home right now. Kind of doing nothing but thinking about the show,” Eisenberg said of completely immersing himself in The Spoils. “It’s not healthy. We’re only doing a short run of The Spoils for that reason. Because I find doing plays totally consuming in ways that don’t feel sustainable. I worry about the show from the moment I wake up. The only calm I have in my day is after it’s over.”

Balancing His Career with His Anxiety and Passions

Since seeing The Spoils come to life on the stage, Eisenberg hasn’t slowed down. He’s appeared in over a dozen films including The End of the Tour (2015), Louder Than Bombs (2015), American Ultra (2015), Café Society (2016), and The World Before Your Feet (2018). He surprised fans in 2016 when he accepted the role of Lex Luthor in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and reprised his role in Justice League (2017). Beyond that, he has several recent credits and upcoming projects including The Art of Self-Defense (2019), Vivarium (2019), Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), and Resistance (TBA). His upcoming television projects include The Market (TBA) and Bream Gives Me Hiccups (TBA).

Outside his life in the spotlight, the 35-year-old Eisenberg openly talks about his struggle with anxiety and his obsessive-compulsive disorder. “I know my circumstances are the luckiest circumstances that have existed since, ya know, the dawn of civilization,” he joked. “I recognize that in an intellectual way. I just still put a lot of pressure on myself. When I think about the kind of luck I have, of not only being born in America, but being able to do the things that I want to do, it feels pretty stupid to feel anxiety.”

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