Ever since 2010 we’ve been introduced to the Jesse Eisenberg phenomenon. This phenomenon –of course- is totally unlike the Ryan Gosling phenomenon or the Leo Mania back in the 1990s, not to mention the Bieber fever. The Eisenberg phenomenon –as we’d like to call it- is more of an obsession with an emerging artist who is so unlike the Hollywood image of a lead man. He is funny, awkward, OCDian and nerdy. He’s smart, pensive and comes off as a hostile guest sometimes. Most importantly, he is a very talented young man who is not afraid to stretch his acting abilities in a series of similar roles, all the while making them look different.
For girls, it is pretty difficult to deal with Jesse. He is not that gorgeous but he is far from ugly. More than once I have fallen over a comment that describes him as “not Brad Pit, but…” Jesse redefined the nerd stereotype. You find yourself cheering for him when he is after the girl of his dreams in “Adventureland” and you find yourself unsettled by his darkness in “The Social Network” yet secretly hoping he wins his case against the Winklevosses. As a piano prodigy in “Why stop now” Jesse yet makes another movie where his character is put in a “life or death” situation and you would be surprised to know that movie was proceeded by another one “30 minutes or less” where a young man is also facing a life or death situation. To Jesse this is catharsis, he is replaying his own moment of terror when he was “mugged one night in New York and slammed into a concrete pillar” but in a different context. It might even surprise you more to know that Jesse has replayed his mugging moment in “Asuncion”, a play that he both wrote and starred in. Talk about psychiatry at its finest.
To some Jesse gives the air of being arrogant, especially after his uncomfortable interview with Univision reporter Romina Puga where they mocked each other during a press junket for his latest blockbuster “Now you see me”. Others view him as just another anal artist who reaches the level of neurosis at times. Personally I see him as a troubled genius, someone trying desperately to fit in through his acting yet backing off at the nearest chance. His awkwardness comes from his dedication to his work and his crafty method of acting is just another example of how one’s journey affects his image and the way people receive it. Jesse is looking for acceptance as an artist but not necessarily as an individual. His soul is not as tormented as Marilyn Monroe’s or Michael Jackson’s but you can feel that trapped look whenever you are trying to reach out to him. It is as if you are cornering him and if you don’t back away, you won’t get anything but defensiveness in return.
Are artists all that tiresome? Out of experience I say yes. Even the stardom pour stardom ones are a pain in the vagina for all that matters. They have a weird love/hate relationship with fame. They like it hot yet they give a cold shoulder when they sense their world almost falling apart. Yet it falls apart. Or not. Some are smarter than the others and they know when to tone everything down, throw a backpack over their shoulders and run away. Kate Winslet is one good example on artists of the sort.
Jesse is more like mercury. You can’t decide for sure whether he is a fame lover or enemy, but you can tell it’s not a priority on his agenda. Like him or loathe him, Jesse still comes off as one interesting persona and you can’t help but anticipate what he has to cook next.
Written By: Jaylan Salah