For the majority of his movie career, Jesse Eisenberg has played the awkward hero (or antihero, in some cases). It doesn’t matter if he’s shooting zombies with a shotgun or creating the greatest social network known to our generation, because where it matters he still trips over his words, inspires disdain instead of admiration in his allies, and is awful with girls.
On playing Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, he said in 2010, ”I’m uncomfortable in the same way Mark is. I can’t watch myself in interviews. I feel like I look like a wreck. My mom is always calling me and going, ‘Stop fidgeting,’ and it’s like, ‘You have no idea what it’s like, Mom.’” With even his photo shoots looking derpy, we’re pretty used to the idea that Jesse will embody characters who are uncomfortable in their own skin. Sure, he had that incredible courtroom smackdown monologue from The Social Network, but that brand of badassery was more the exception than the rule. Screwing people out of money? Now that’s more of what Jesse did in that movie, and what he’s doing in the thriller Now You See Me.
Sporting a goatee that makes him resemble Napoleon Dynamite‘s Jon Heder, Jesse explains in this featurette about the plot of Now You See Me: It stars him, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco as con artists who manage to pull off bank heists while doing their bestselling, death-defying magic show.
It’s a fascinating real-life commentary that it took a film about sleight of hand to transform Jesse into a confident hero. But you can see it in the interviews and the movie footage, as his character Atlas manipulates audience members through supposed mind-control and card tricks.
Michael Caine plays the troupe’s rich benefactor, though why he would align himself with any other magician story after killing it in The Prestige is beyond me.
Now You See Me doesn’t come out until 2013, but its legacy is clear. Do you know who Jesse will be playing next? Jesse Eisenberg. Naturally.