October 5, 1983
Queens, New York, USA
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Unlike many young actors trying to build their careers, Jesse Eisenberg had the luxury of choosing artistically fulfilling roles while occasionally balancing higher-profile parts in major studio films. Though he made his first onscreen strides on television, Eisenberg made a distinct impression as a teenager who is looking to become a man in the indie drama "Roger Dodger" (2002). While he was lost in the shuffle of M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village" (2004), he earned strong critical praise for his performance in "The Squid and the Whale" (2005), a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age drama directed by Noah Baumbach. Following major supporting roles in "Cursed" (2005) and "The Hunting Party" (2007), Eisenberg had his mainstream breakout with a starring role as a nebbish survivor of the zombie apocalypse in the surprise horror comedy hit, "Zombieland" (2009) as well as his critically lauded performance as Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, in David Fincher's brilliant drama "The Social Network" (2010). Thanks to the success of both movies, Eisenberg established himself as a talented and accomplished performer on the cusp of becoming a major star.
Born Oct. 5, 1983 in Bayside, Queens, NY, Eisenberg was raised by his father, Barry, a former hospital administrator who later became a college professor, and his mother, Amy, a professional clown. Also in the family was his sister, Hallie Kate, who became known in the late 1990s after starring in a series of popular Pepsi commercials. Though she became famous for being the curly-cued Pepsi girl, Eisenberg embarked on his own acting career, making his Broadway debut in a revival of Tennessee Williams' "Summer and Smoke" (1996). Two years later, he received good reviews for his part in "The Broadway Kids Sing Broadway," a national touring company that featured kids aged 8-16 performing wholesome, child-oriented entertainment. After moving with the family to New Jersey when he was 16, where he attended East Brunswick High School, Eisenberg made his television debut in the short-lived series "Get Real" (Fox, 1999-2000), an irreverent dramedy about a dysfunctional San Francisco family that also starred a young Anne Hathaway. He followed with "Lightning: Fire from the Sky" (ION, 2001), which paired him with John Schneider as a father-son duo who struggle to save their Missouri town from a potentially destructive storm.
Eisenberg took the next step in his career with a starring role in "Roger Dodger" (2002), an independent comedy about a teenager who turns to his ladies' man uncle (Campbell Scott) in New York City for help chatting up women and losing his virginity. The young actor more than held his own against Scott, Isabella Rossellini, Jennifer Beals and Elizabeth Berkley in the dark, disturbing flick. Following "Roger Dodger," Eisenberg moved toward larger studio films, though he traded off with small supporting roles. After playing a party-minded student being tasked to better himself by a dedicated private school teacher in "The Emperor's Club" (2002), Eisenberg had a small part in M. Night Shyamalan's supernatural thriller, "The Village" (2004). Eisenberg next received good reviews and much attention for his role in "The Squid and the Whale" (2005), writer-director Noah Baumbach's coming-of-age drama about two young boys (Eisenberg and Owen Kline) dealing with the divorce of their parents (Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney). The film earned considerable critical praise and several award nominations, including a nod for Best Supporting Male at the Independent Spirit Awards for Eisenberg.
Having proven himself a qualified up-and-comer, he followed a supporting turn in Wes Craven's horror thriller "Cursed" (2005) with "The Hunting Party" (2007), a comedic crime thriller about three journalists (Eisenberg, Richard Gere and Terrence Howard) who make a halfhearted attempt at capturing an alleged architect of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, only to be mistaken for CIA agents. Eisenberg became a bona fide star with the hit horror comedy "Zombieland" (2009), in which he played a neurosis-laden nerd forced into survival mode following the zombie apocalypse. Joining a bad-ass zombie hunter (Woody Harrelson) and two scamming sisters (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin), he fights off an ever-increasing horde - and has an unfortunate confrontation with actor Bill Murray - on his way to Pacific Playland, where all hope to recapture some sense of normalcy. A surprise hit, "Zombieland" was both bitingly funny and chock full of gory violence, all of which added up to a successful run at the box office.
Meanwhile, Eisenberg starred in two indie coming-of-age dramas, "The Education of Charlie Banks" (2009) and "Adventureland" (2009), before being seen in a slew of smaller films the following year, including "The Living Wake" (2010), "Solitary Man" (2010) and "Holy Rollers" (2010). But his biggest movie of that year was undoubtedly "The Social Network" (2010), director David Fincher's excellent legal drama that chronicled the rise of Facebook and the young billionaires it created. Eisenberg played the social networking site's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, who was alleged to have stolen the idea from Harvard classmates, including roommate Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), before turning the college-only website into a multi-billion-dollar international phenomenon. Almost universally hailed by critics, many of whom put the film atop their year-end Top Ten lists, "The Social Network" provided Eisenberg the rare chance to display his formidable dramatic chops. For his efforts, he received Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award nominations for Best Actor.
In 2011, Eisenberg switched things up considerably by signing on for his first feature voice-over role, playing a rare macaw bird named Blu in the animated hit "Rio," featuring his former TV co-star Anne Hathaway. The same year, he reunited with "Zombieland" director Ruben Fleischer to underwhelming effect in the comedy "30 Minutes or Less" and stayed in a humorous vein for Woody Allen's "To Rome with Love" (2012), which found him caught in a love triangle with characters portrayed by Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page. After a major misfire with the comedy "Why Stop Now" (2012), Eisenberg held his own in the impressive ensemble cast of the caper film "Now You See Me" (2013), co-starring Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman and his "Zombieland" buddy Harrelson.
Night MovesJosh Stamos
Now You See MeMichael Atlas
Why Stop Now?Eli Bloom
The Social NetworkMark Zuckerberg
Solitary ManDaniel Cheston
Holy RollersSam Gold
The Living WakeMills Joaquin
The Education of Charlie BanksCharlie Banks
The Hunting PartyBenjamin
The Squid and the WhaleWalt Berkman
The Emperor's ClubLouis Masoudi