24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Jesse Eisenberg

L.A. Times Young Hollywood Roundtable: Getting into character

November 6, 2010 |  2:32 pm

When you throw hot young actors like Andrew Garfield, Carey Mulligan and Jesse Eisenberg together for a free-wheeling discussion, you never know what might come up -- on Friday, it was everything from appletinis and eyebrows to private planes and taking the bus in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Times entertainment writer Amy Kaufman sat down with the trio at the Egyptian Theatre to talk about handling the challenges of global stardom as twentysomethings. There was plenty of meaningful talk about the craft of acting. But there were also confessions of self-doubt (Garfield discussed his "stupid eyebrows" and his "stupid nostrils"). Funny stories about what first wowed them about Los Angeles (Mulligan recalled being awed seeing Mario Lopez on Muscle Beach). And quirky peeks into the jet-set Hollywood life (Eisenberg says he's enjoyed flying around on a private plane doing publicity for "The Social Network" because it's bigger than his New York apartment -- and there are no cats.)

Garfield, 27, and Mulligan, 25, recently starred in "Never Let Me Go,” a film based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s beloved science fiction novel about a group of schoolchildren relegated to a sad fate. Garfield also appeared on screen this fall with Eisenberg, 27, in "The Social Network," which revolves around the controversial origins of Facebook. And Mulligan had a key role in "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps."

Over the next few days, we'll post short videos with some highlights of the conversation. In this first clip, the three reveal how they approach the task of getting into character. Check back Sunday for more excerpts from the event.

 


L.A. Times roundtable with Young Hollywood stars Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg

November 4, 2010 |  3:53 pm

Carey andrewYou've seen them in some of the year's most acclaimed films: future "Spider-Man" Andrew Garfield, Academy Award nominee Carey Mulligan and Mark Zuckerberg doppelganger Jesse Eisenberg.

So how do they handle the challenges of global stardom — all  while in their 20s? That's one of the questions that three of Young Hollywood's brightest talents will address in a conversation hosted by Los Angeles Times entertainment writer Amy Kaufman.

Garfield, 27, and Mulligan, 25, recently starred in "Never Let Me Go,” a film based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s beloved science fiction novel about a group of schoolchildren relegated to a sad fate. Garfield also appeared on screen this fall with Eisenberg, 27, in "The Social Network," which revolves around the controversial origins of Facebook.

Jesse The actors will discuss the art of acting, life behind the scenes and the approaching awards season during a roundtable at 7 p.m. Friday at the American Cinematheque Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. The evening is in partnership with AFI Fest. Tickets are free, but you must RSVP. Click here for more information and to reserve your seats.

Do you have a question for Mulligan, Garfield or Eisenberg? Submit it in the comments section below or on our Facebook page. Kaufman will select some to ask during the roundtable. We will be videotaping the conversation, so check back for clips from the event on 24 Frames next week.

Photos: (From top) Andrew Garfield and Carey Mulligan at a September screening of "Never Let Me Go," Jesse Eisenberg attends the Rome Film Festival this week. Credits: Evan Agostini /Associated Press, Tiziana Fabi /AFP Photo.


Preview review: With powerful trailer, 'The Social Network' becomes a fall front-runner (in July)

July 15, 2010 |  1:17 pm

Socialnetwork Who knew Facebook could be so deep?

After releasing two teaser trailers for David Fincher's "The Social Network," Sony has finally given us a full preview for the Aaron Sorkin-penned movie, out in October. And judging by the trailer, there's nothing light about the movie, which takes a dark, dramatic look at the website's roots.

The film is based on Ben Mezrich's 2009 book, "Accidental Billionaires." Among other things, the book details a lawsuit between founder Mark Zuckerberg and former classmates Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who claimed they were the ones who came up with the idea for the site. Of course, we know how the real-life saga ended — the twin brothers reportedly received a $65-million settlement from Facebook.

My colleague Steven Zeitchik has said the movie is going to be a "hot-button film this fall," a possible award contender that "will get tongues wagging about the rigors and ethics of social media." It's evident from this trailer that that's certainly the direction the marketing campaign is headed. The trailer opens with a montage of images Facebook users have posted on the site. At first, the pictures are lighthearted — college kids out drinking, teens hanging out in parking lots. But things slowly get more serious — a woman is shown with an IV in her arm, a baby is born.

Accompanied by Scala & Kolacny Brothers' version of Radiohead's "Creep," the effect is somewhat chilling, and at first we were taken aback by it. We don't generally think of Facebook, which so many of us use to post funny YouTube videos or share Happy Birthday messages, as much more than a fun distraction from work (um, we've heard).

We also get to see more of the newly anointed Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield, who plays Eduardo Saverin, one of Zuckerberg's early partners, and he seems right at home as a nervous, smart Harvard student. And Jesse Eisenberg is convincing as (and shares an eerie resemblance with) the real-life Zuckerberg. The only actor who looks like he might be mildly out of place is Justin Timberlake. He plays Sean Parker, the president of Facebook who mentors Zuckerberg and Saverin, but his portrayal of a money-hungry businessman feels unnatural. 

Even though the approach here seems a little self-serious, ultimately, it's effective. It's clear from some of the dialogue that the movie has something to say about social media, the slippery nature of online identity and the perils of youthful ambition. Says Zuckerberg in the movie: "I need to do something substantial in order to get the attention of the [Harvard final] clubs. ... because they're exclusive, and fun, and they lead to a better life.”

Given Eisenberg's portrayal of him, the movie may not do wonders for Zuckerberg’s own life. But it may enhance ours. "The Social Network" looks entertaining and smart – which in contemporary Hollywood is a rare status.

— Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

[UPDATE: An earlier version of this post incorrectly attributed to the cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” to Vega Choir rather than Scala & Kolacny Brothers.]

Photo: The poster for "The Social Network." Credit: Columbia Pictures.

RECENT AND RELATED

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'The Social Network' keeps teasing us with great trailers

'The Social Network' as this fall's 'Hurt Locker'?


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Sundance 2010: 'Holy Rollers,' a Jewish underworld, by way of Joseph Smith

January 27, 2010 |  7:00 am

Among the many questions one might have upon meeting "Holy Rollers" screenwriter Antonio Macia is how a devout Mormon went about writing a movie featuring ultra-Orthodox Jews. In Brooklyn. Selling drugs.

Rol "I just tried to find out as much as I can, what they did on holidays and what they did on Shabbos," Macia told 24 Frames after the film's premiere Monday at the Sundance festival. Macia, who came to Mormonism on his own as an adult, pronounces "Shabb-os" with a flat "a," like the one in "taboo."  Although there are a number of such lexical and cultural details about the ultra-Orthodox community that the movie gets a little wrong, Macia and director Kevin Asch have by and large created a convincing world where loyalty duels with ambition, theological dogma with secular freedom.


In the film, Jesse Eisenberg  plays a studious ingenue drawn into becoming an operator in a transatlantic Ecstasy-smuggling cartel by Justin Bartha's character, an older, more experienced truant, in the process alienating his family. Asch's movie spins a story so unusual it borders on the implausible, though it is loosely inspired by a true story of an ultra-Orthodox smuggling ring active in the late 1990s.

The next day we have a lunch interview with  several cast members and director Asch -- a secular Jew raised in the upscale New York suburb of Great Neck, Long Island, and thus closer, if only slightly, to the storyline than Macia. Asch says he thinks "Holy Rollers" transcends place or demographics. "It could be a kid in Oklahoma doing meth," he says. "It could be anything, anywhere. We just wanted to show what it was like to be in this insular community and get caught up in something that's attractive because it's so different."  It's this tightly bordered subculture, Asch said, that made a devout Mormon the perfect screenwriter.

Or as costar Ari Graynor says, the film is not so much about the drug wars or even religious affiliation as it is "all about family."

"Holy Rollers" is just one of a slew of dramas playing in Park City this year, but -- with its unique premise,  guerrilla execution (lots of dark lighting and close-ups, in part because of the lower budget and accelerated shooting schedule) and the fact that it somehow got made despite few of the pre-sold elements preferred by financiers -- it embodies the current spirit of the festival. Even after Eisenberg and Bartha signed on, the film went another year and a half in limbo as Asch and producer Danny Abeckaser (who also has a supporting role in the film) found, lost and found again sources of financing.

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