Jesse Eisenberg shot to fame with his role as spiky Facebook chief Mark Zuckeberg – a performance which earned him an Oscar nomination and a promising Hollywood film career. But he is known for not being the easiest character to deal with, recently hitting headlines for driving a young reporter to the brink of tears. He makes no apologies for his public image, preferring to exist as a kind of anti-film star.
“How a mass audience views an actor is separate from their acting ability,” he tells the latest edition of Radio Times. “I’ve been to acting school and there is nothing to train you how to become an accessible human being. People come up to me on the street and act as if they know me because they saw me play a character that feels like them. That’s not my intention.
“I genuinely prefer to do the opposite. I don’t have any agenda in terms of having a ‘relationship’ with an audience.”
Eisenberg’s latest film, Now You See Me, co-stars Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Isla Fisher – a slick caper following a group of magicians who rob the rich and provide for the needy. The 29-year-old plays J Daniel Atlas, a cocky nerd who “thinks he is the greatest magician in the world and acts accordingly.”
But despite roles in Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love and animated hit Rio, he claims he hasn’t felt his career step up a gear since playing the Facebook billionaire in 2010. “I wish I could say I have, but I haven’t.”
Living in New York with his girlfriend, Anna Strout, he reveals the pair have a penchant for cats, having spent years fostering feline pets. “Cats are so sweet, but more importantly they’re self-sufficient. Cats and I couldn’t be more different. I need attention. I have this need to tell people things. Also I don’t like drinking milk off the floor.”
This week’s edition of Radio Times is available from Tuesday, priced £1.60.