Jesse Eisenberg is just about fed up with amusement parks. After starring earlier this year in Adventureland as a theme park toiler, the young actor hits theaters this week in Zombieland, which sets its climactic battle beneath ferris wheels and tilt-a-whirls. “It’s the most inefficient place to do a movie,” he gripes.
“Even if it’s a closeup of an actor, if there’s a ride in the background doing anything, they have to have extras on it and have it going,” Eisenberg explains. “I was tired of it on the first day of shooting.” But he hasn’t ruled out returning to such a setting in the future. “I’ll do whatever they put me in,” he says, “but I’d prefer not.”
In Zombieland, Eisenberg plays one of a handful of survivors of a virus that’s reduced most of the population to flesh-hungry monsters. “We actually planned the swine flu to coincide with the movie opening,” he jokes. “And, you know, there’s some collateral damage, but ultimately we’ll have a big opening weekend.”
Though admittedly not a fan of the zombie genre, Eisenberg was impressed enough by what the writers conjured up to sign on. “The script was endlessly violent,” he says. “All the kills were so creative.” But the amount of gunplay involved with playing a survivor of the zombie apocalypse did give him pause.
“I don’t really like using guns. I don’t want to be promoting violence in a fun way,” Eisenberg explains. “There are too many guns in the world, so I don’t want to be part of that. But I think the movie is pretty responsible in terms of the values that it promotes.”
Still, Eisenberg admits that compromise does have its benefits, as starring in movies like Zombieland can make it easier to get his more personal projects off the ground. For instance, he recently booked the part of Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings, set in the early days of the Beat Generation. “The Ginsberg movie is so far down the road because it’s trying to raise money,” he says. “And it’s about homosexual beat poets and a murder. It’s not the thing investors are jumping at, probably.”
But first he’s got a more high-profile job to tackle: portraying Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in David Fincher’s the Social Network, chronicling the creation of the hugely successful site. Eisenberg hasn’t had a chance to chat with Zuckerberg yet, however. “I would like to,” he says. “I don’t know what I can say. He’s not involved in the movie. I suppose if I say anything else, I’ll be sued by the movie company and the Internet company.”
• For Zombieland photos, a trailer and screen times, or to buy tickets, click here