The NYC-bred star of Zombieland talks night school, theater, and d.i.y. music.As told to Damien Scott; Photography by Jared Ryder Jesse Eisenberg:I go to The New School [in NYC]. With acting, you work for two months somewhere, then it’s over and you have nothing to do. You just get complacent and bored, so night school is a great outlet. Some people recognize me… But I never talk about it. If people ask me what I do, I’ll never say it because I want it to be a separate thing.
Jesse Eisenberg:The only associations I have with California are going there for work or an audition. It’s always a stressful experience, so I have troubled associations with it… But luckily, I don’t go there that often. The movies don’t really film there anymore because the taxes are absurd, so they film almost everywhere except for California now.
Jesse Eisenberg:The one thing I don’t like about movies is publicity. I don’t like talking about myself… But with theater there’s a lot less publicity. It’s a quieter way to be creative. Movies are the loudest thing to do. But you can’t make a living in theater. The last Broadway play I did was an amazing play and we were all making like $300 a week.
Jesse Eisenberg:I wrote an entire song with [Apple’s] GarageBand. You could do so much and it sounds so good because the technology is so advanced… But it’s like that with movies, too. Movies used to be made by very few people, and now everyone can make movies on their little camera. Ultimately, it’s better—it makes it more democratic.
Jesse Eisenberg:I really don’t get cast often enough to get typecast. If you’re in things you like doing, what’s the difference?… But if somebody has a problem with that, that’s their own thing. I’ve just gotten lucky to be in good things. I don’t think about the role I’m playing as much as feeling like I’m involved in something that’s worthwhile.