EXCLUSIVE: Noah Baumbach introduced many of us to Jesse Eisenberg when he cast the young actor as the son of divorcing parents in 2005 breakout "The Squid and the Whale." Now the two look to be reuniting -- with Eisenberg all grown up and playing one half of a couple.
According to a person who was briefed on the project but was not authorized to talk about it publicly, Eisenberg is in talks to play one of the lead roles in "While We're Young," an intergenerational couples drama that will be Baumbach's next film. Eisenberg, nominated for an Oscar for his performance in "The Social Network," could be working with another Oscar nominee, Naomi Watts, who's also in talks to star in the drama, according to the person briefed on the project.
Representatives for Eisenberg and Watts were not immediately available for comment. The person briefed on the project cautioned that formal deals for Eisenberg and Watts are not yet in place.
Baumbach's independently financed film is about a 40-ish childless couple that begins feeling alienated from their friends as those friends start to procreate, and strike up an unlikely friendship with a younger couple. The film is being produced by Scott Rudin, who was also Eisenberg's producer on "The Social Network."
Ben Stiller, who starred in Baumbach's most recent "Greenberg," has already been set as the older male. The actress playing the young female has not been set.
Baumbach's new movie has faced a bit of a casting shake-up. James Franco was initially set to play the role that Eisenberg could occupy (if it's not one 2011 Oscar nominee, it's another) and Cate Blanchett the older female part, but each fell out in recent months.
Eisenberg, who voices a lead characater in spring hit "Rio" and will be seen this summer in the comedic action movie "30 Minutes or Less," has had his choice of big roles since breaking out as Mark Zuckerberg. He's getting ready to shoot Woody Allen's new film in Rome this summer.
Watts was last on the big screen in the political drama "Fair Game" last year. But she's about to be a frequent presence: later this year she'll appear as J. Edgar Hoover's secretary, Helen Gandy, in Clint Eastwood's biopic about the FBI chief, as well as as star in Jim Sheridan's dramatic thriller "Dream House."
Photo: Jesse Eisenberg, left, in "The Squid and the Whale." Credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films