Flashback: Jesse Eisenberg's Breakout Role


As Jesse Eisenberg's thriller Now You See Me continues to rake in big totals at the box office after a $30-million opening weekend, let's take a look back at the film that made him a household name.

Eisenberg had been acting for over a decade, first appearing at age 16 in the comedy series Get Real, but it wasn't until his acclaimed role in the 2010 blockbuster The Social Network that his star rose to unseen heights.

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"I don't know if it's possible to be ready for such an overwhelming experience," he says of the potential success and acclaim that will stem from The Social Network, based on the creation of Facebook. "Movies...are so far-reaching, so the reaction tends to outweigh what was put in to make it. ... The reaction to the movie has been really positive, though, and that's really nice."

The then-26-year-old actor had previously starred in a few big-budget films, including the 2007 $40-million flop thriller The Hunting Party (grossed < $1 million domestic) and the 2009 $24-million budget comedy Zombieland, but he had never been a part of big-budget project with so much anticipation attached to it.

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The underlying reason for the excitement? Thirst for an inside look at the world's largest social media site.

"It's strange that the movie's having so much exposure," Eisenberg says in the featured flashback. "I've been involved with movies that never see the light of day, for a variety of reasons, and the amount of exposure this movie's having is kind of new thing for me, and of course, a little uncomfortable."

And that was before the film was released. The film went on to gross $225 million and shower Eisenberg with awards nominations, including Oscar, Golden Globe, and SAG nominations, for his role as Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

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The groundwork for his lauded role partly lied in his fundamental connection to his character in the film.

"Mark has a hard time fitting in to social circles; I had a tough time as well," he admits. "He creates Facebook; I started doing plays, but really it was the same need: the need to connect with others and to connect in an environment that you feel comfortable."

Connecting with others to a certain extent, that is, as Eisenberg reveals he has no desire to bond with others over the cyber waves through Facebook.

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"I'm not on Facebook because I'm doing interviews and I meet people on the street who recognize me from movies occasionally and I'm just uninterested in going and talking more about myself when I get home. I just want to not ever speak again."