×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jesse Eisenberg on SXSW Doc ‘The World Before Your Feet,’ Returning to Lex Luthor

Until now, Jesse Eisenberg has juggled two different jobs in Hollywood — actor (in films like “The Social Network” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”) and playwright. At this year’s South by Southwest, he’ll add producer to his resume. Eisenberg’s name appears in the credits for documentary “The World Before Your Feet,” which follows a man named Matt Green who spent six years walking on every street in New York City. That’s a total of 8,000 miles in all.

Eisenberg said he was contacted by the film’s director, Jeremy Workman, to see if he’d back this story. “I’ve shepherded along projects that I’ve acted in and turned down producing roles because they just seem superfluous,” Eisenberg said. “This was a different situation. In my opinion, it just felt like being a public champion for something I liked.”

Ahead of the film’s premiere in Austin, Texas, Eisenberg spoke to Variety about the movie, if he’ll ever return to playing Lex Luthor in a DC Comics sequel and his thoughts on #MeToo.

What drew you to coming on as an executive producer of this movie?
It was such an unusual project. On one hand, it’s this fantastic tour of New York City. But more than that, its central character has this unusual relationship to his environment. He’s simultaneously a tourist and a philosopher.

Did you meet him?
I walked with Matt Green. His knowledge about the specifics of New York City is so unbelievable, whether it be why a fire hydrant is this color to why graffiti on this street matches graffiti in Green Point, Brooklyn, because the artist has a cousin and they do a similar tag. One of the points Matt makes in the movie is you could live on 16th street and never see what happened on 17th street. It’s because of the concentration.

It’s also amazing that you could spend 8,000 miles walking just in New York. Do you have a favorite neighborhood?
Well, I’m a bicyclist. The only place I’ve consistently gone for the last 15 years has been to visit my aunt who is 106 now and she lives in Murray Hill. I’ve biked as many possible routes as there are from downtown Manhattan to the East Side.

Are you going to reprise your role as Lux Luthor in another “Superman” film?
I hope so. I mean, I have no idea is the truth. I love playing the character. Probably in terms of movie acting, it’s the most enjoyable character I’ve had the opportunity to play. So I would love to do it again. But I don’t know what their slate is. If you have any pull, please use it.

Were you supposed to have a bigger role in “Justice League?”
No. I was in it after the credits.

There was speculation online that they cut some of your other scenes.
No, no. Actually, on the contrary, they added some stuff.

What do you think of the moment we’re in right now with #MeToo and Time’s Up?
Over the last three years, I volunteered and raised $1 million for a domestic violence shelter that my mother-in-law has run. It’s called Middle Way House in Bloomington, Indiana. They serve a great purpose for sexual assault on campus, but also, it’s an incredible resource for the region of Southern Indiana. Like everybody else, I was incredibly shocked by how pervasive [sexual harassment and assault are] in an industry that I usually think of as progressive, open-minded, eager to give opportunities to those who are less fortunate. I’m really happy this is finally becoming a public discussion. It’s obviously way too late, but better than never.

Do you think we’re at a tipping point in Hollywood?
Oh, I certainly hope so. I’ll just say on a micro-level, I read a lot of scripts, as all actors do. Male characters in scripts are never physically described. And female characters are always described, irrespective of the importance of their physicality. That’s been disgusting to me. I feel like I’m seeing that less now. Also, the last movie set I was on [“The Hummingbird Project”], we just finished in December. I was working in Montreal. There was an actor who said something to one of the people in the wardrobe department and he was fired on the spot. I do not think that would have happened six months ago. If that doesn’t indicate a turning point, I don’t know what does.

What happened?
I wasn’t there. [He declines to offers specifics out of the respect to the woman involved.] Interestingly enough, on set that day was Salma Hayek, who asked me to take a look at the piece she wrote for the New York Times. And also a woman named Erika Rosenbaum [who has come forward a a victim of sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein]. It just felt like the tide was turning.

Several actors who have appeared in Woody Allen films have decided to donate their salaries. Is that something you would do?
As I told you, I spent the last three years raising almost $1 million for a domestic violence shelter. So when I think about raising money or awareness for sexual assault or domestic violence, I felt that my best efforts have direct activism with this particular shelter.

Do you think you’ll produce more?
Not really. I spend my days writing plays and acting in movies. I’m not that interested in producing because when I’m putting on one of my plays, it requires so much of that anyway and I find it exhausting.

More Film

  • Hugh Jackman Sings Happy Birthday to

    Hugh Jackman Leads Massive One-Man Show Crowd in 'Happy Birthday' for Ian McKellen

    Hugh Jackman may have had to skip Ian McKellen’s birthday party to perform his one-man show, “The Man, The Music, The Show,” but that didn’t mean he couldn’t celebrate his “X-Men” co-star’s 80th. Jackman took a moment at the Manchester Arena Saturday to lead the sold-out audience — some 50,000 strong — in a rendition [...]

  • Netflix, Shmetflix: At Cannes 2019, the

    Netflix, Shmetflix: At Cannes 2019, the Movies Needed Every Inch of the Big Screen

    In the May 24 edition of The New York Times, there was a column by Timothy Egan, entitled “The Comeback of the Century: Why the Book Endures, Even in an Era of Disposable Digital Culture,” that celebrated those things that come between two hard covers as a larger phenomenon than mere nostalgia. The column keyed [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Dominates International Box Office With $121 Million

    Disney’s “Aladdin” is showing plenty of worldwide drawing power with $121 million overseas for the weekend, opening in first place in nearly all international markets. The reboot of the 1992 animated classic has received strong family attendance with a significant gain on Saturday and Sunday. China leads the way with an estimated $18.7 million for [...]

  • Aladdin

    Box Office: 'Aladdin' Taking Flight With $105 Million in North America

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” is flying high with an estimated $105 million in North America during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend. It’s the sixth-highest Memorial Day weekend total ever, topping the 2011 mark of $103.4 million for “The Hangover Part II.” The top total came in 2007, when “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” [...]

  • Agustina San Martin Talks Cannes Special

    Agustina San Martin Talks Cannes Special Mention Winner ‘Monster God’

    CANNES – An exploration of the ramifications of God, “Monster God,” from Argentina’s Agustina San Martín, took a Special Mention – an effective runner’s up prize – on Saturday night at this year’s Cannes Film Festival short film competition. It’s not difficult to see why, especially when jury president Claire Denis own films’ power resists [...]

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content