Part two of the interview we posted yesterday:
I’ve heard everyone involved with The Social Network say that they don’t use Facebook. But if I worked on a project where I learned about fixing Chevys, after that project was over, I think I might want to see if I could actually fix a Chevy. You’ve had no desire to check out Facebook?
Well, I did all that. The last movie I did [Ruben Fleischer’s 30 Minutes or Less], I played a pizza-delivery guy. So I went on pizza-delivery runs with the guy. I always do that. I signed up for Facebook for just a week. Or two or three weeks.
As yourself or an alias?
Under an alias with a new e-mail address that I set up just for that. Then I got an e-mail a week later suggesting I be friends with this girl who was actually my sister’s best friend from that school over there [points across the street to his former high school]. My sister has a different last name than I do. I have no idea how they got this.
Did that scare you?
Of course, of course. It’s frightening. But I did everything I could to learn about this guy. I went to the point of taking fencing lessons because the real Mark Zuckerberg was a fencer. And I noticed that he had unique posture. So I thought if I took fencing lessons, I might learn about what inspired that posture. When I did the fencing lessons, I realized that was the case. I actually developed a posture that I saw he had. So, no, I did a lot to get into the spirit of the movie. When I signed up for Facebook, frankly, it didn’t teach me anything new about the character. What it did teach me, though… It just made me feel less unprofessional. Because you don’t want to go onto a movie set about a guy who works with Chevys and not have driven a Chevy.
The last scene is Mark using Facebook to try to reconnect with his ex-girlfriend. I know you’ve never met Mark, but, late at night, has the thought ever crossed your mind to reach out to him on an e-mail or Facebook? Just to see what happens?
If I could think of anything of value to say, I would. But I have nothing to say. I have nothing that would interest him. It’s easy to forget — for me, not you — It’s easy for me to forget that this guy is running a $30 billion company and probably has a lot more on his plate than if me or Aaron Sorkin or David Fincher decided to contact him. I would like to meet him. I actually went up to the Facebook offices in New York last week. My cousin is an employee of Facebook in Palo Alto, but he had to go up and get his bags, so I went up for a minute. Our movie has not hurt Facebook in he least.
Did you really think it could have?
There were fears that it might. There are probably more practical ideas that it wouldn’t affect them. And I think, if anything, it helped. It’s just established them as the most significant thing around.
It’s hard to imagine Aunt Matilda in Michigan wanting to quit Facebook because The Social Network was released.
That’s right. And even more so, the effect that it has had is that people under 25 tend to view my character, Mark, as a real hero. So even though he does things in the movie that’s hurtful to other characters, or even though he’s emotionally aloof, people view him as kind of a hero. I think maybe another fear might have been that it made Mark look bad and the reverse is true. It’s made Mark look like the genius that he is.
Has your life changed since The Social Network was released? There was mention at one point that you wouldn’t be able to ride your bike around New York because you would be mobbed. Has that happened?
I’m so overwhelmed when one person says anything to me, which happens occasionally. I ride a bicycle, which I rode here. So I’m on the street. I’ve gotten recognized because the movie is so popular. I’m in something where my face is on a poster in the subway, so of course people recognize me more. But this movie hasn’t really attracted the people who would like come and [laughs] give me a noogie on the street. This movie has attracted people like my mom, who want to give me a hug or ask me about if I’m on Facebook. So it’s attracted a more subtle audience member, perhaps.
I have to ask, what kind of movie would influence someone to give you a noogie on the street?
Zombieland, for example. I live by a high school in New York. So when Zombieland came out I would ride my bike past the school and the kids would always yell — I mean, it was nice things — but they would yell, “Zombieland!”
Yeah, if they remember the name. I mean, that movie has just kind of its roots in a different segment of culture. Namely, high school kids. I had this idea, which I think I may implement: People ask to take pictures of me all of the time. This is like, in the last five years: Somebody recognizes you on the street. And I wasn’t recognized five years ago. But it’s occurred to me that with technology everybody takes a picture on their camera phone. So I had the idea that I’d only agree to take a picture — because always, inevitably, you have to take a picture on somebody’s little cell phone — I thought it would be a good idea that they can take a picture on the condition that they will e-mail me the picture. And then I’ll have all of these pictures. Then I can kind of like put them out as a book to show the absolute absurdity of it: Of standing there with my same dumb expression with 100 different people.
Have you started doing that yet? You really should.
No. My only concern is that if I get an e-mail address and somebody hacks into my computer. Do you know anything about computers? Is that possible?
I’m not an expert, but I think if you just set up a Gmail account specifically for this, like Eisenbergpictureproject at gmail or something, you should be fine.
Right! Right. That’s what I need to do. I’ll do it tonight.
I wouldn’t give out your actual e-mail address.
No, no, I’m not going to do that. But that’s totally safe?
I think so?
Could people hack in or send me viruses?
I guess they could, but Gmail is pretty good about weeding those out.
OK, Gmail. I need to get a Gmail account. This is going to be a great idea.
This is a fantastic idea.
The only thing, how do you get people to follow through on that? Then again, I bet they’d be happy to do it: “Hey, I met Jesse Eisenberg, and now he wants me to e-mail him a photo of us.”
I think they would be. I think if the experience is at all exciting for them — “Oh, I ran into someone I saw in a movie on the street…” — they’d want that experience to continue, if that means sending somebody a picture.
They would want the story to continue, “He even gave me his email address!”
“Wait, his e-mail is EisenbergPictures@gmail?” [Laughs]