The Who2 Blog

Jesse Eisenberg, Who Are You?

The David Fincher film The Social Network opened this week. The star of the movie, playing Facebook man Mark Zuckerberg, is an actor named Jesse Eisenberg.

I kept thinking “who the heck is Jesse Eisenberg?” I looked up his filmography. I have some thoughts on the matter.

Oh! The kid from 2002’s Roger Dodger. I saw that movie. Campbell Scott, son of George C. Scott, is terrific. Great script. That’s what I remember. I don’t remember Jesse Eisenberg.

Eisenberg was in The Emperor’s Club the same year, but that was a schoolmaster ‘n’ boys movie, so even if I did see it, I’m sure it’s all mixed up in my head with Dead Poets’ Society, Master and Commander and The Faculty.

Apparently I saw Eisenberg in The Village, the 2004 shaggy-dog story by M. Night Shyamalan, but I have absolutely no memory of him.

I didn’t see him in The Squid and the Whale (2005), but I saw that trailer so many times I feel as though I saw the whole thing. Still, I can’t place Eisenberg in it.

Fast-foward through a few movies I’ve never even heard of. Then we come to Adventureland (2009) and Zombieland (2009). With these movies, Jesse Eisenberg moved from the level of being a Who? to the level of being a Who’s That Guy Again?

Meaning, every time we saw his face on screen (in trailers, then the actual movies), I would ask, “is that the kid from David Cronenberg‘s A History of Violence? (No, that’s Ashton Holmes, doing a great job alongside Viggo Mortensen in that David Cronenberg gem.)

And my wife would ask, “is that Michael Cera?”

We both kinda knew we were wrong.

Now I know who Jesse Eisenberg is. He’s the guy who looks like Michael Cera and is not the guy from A History of Violence, and is the guy who plays Mark Zuckerberg in the movie The Social Network. Now I know that.

And his new movie is getting rave reviews. And it has Justin Timberlake in it. And it sounds like a story of the modern American dream: be a jerk and become a billionaire.

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