Jesse Eisenberg

Photo Brief: Jesse Eisenberg at More Home Slice Pizza

Jesse Eisenberg hands out a signed poster to a fan at More Home Slice as part of a promotional event for his new movie, “30 Minutes or Less,” on Monday afternoon.

Ryan Edwards | Daily Texan Staff


Jesse Eisenberg dropped by More Home Slice during his visit to Austin on Monday afternoon. This was the second-to-last stop on a nationwide tour to promote his new movie, “30 Minutes or Less.” Eisenberg has served food at pizzerias in all the other cities he has visited as part of the tour. The line to meet Eisenberg stretched down the street to the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store on South Congress Avenue. As part of the event, Eisenberg signed posters, posed for photographs with fans and served slices of pizza. People at the front of the line had been waiting for about an hour-and-a-half. Several fans interviewed had left their seats in line for the advance screening of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” in order to shake hands with the star of “The Social Network.” Eisenberg even got one offer to be flashed by a male fan, which he declined. Despite the promotional nature of the event, Eisenberg advised one 6-year-old fan not to see his movie. A sold-out early screening of “30 Minutes or Less” will be showing tonight at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar at 7 p.m.


Jesse Eisenberg sits down to talk about his new movie, “30 Minutes or Less,” in which he plays a pizza delivery boy whose body gets hijacked by two criminals set on robbing a bank.

Photo Credit: Ryan Edwards | Daily Texan Staff

In “30 Minutes or Less,” Jesse Eisenberg stars as Nick, a withdrawn pizza delivery boy who has a bomb strapped to his chest by small-time criminals played by Danny McBride and Nick Swardson. With only a few hours to rob a bank before the bomb goes off, Nick enlists his friend Chet (Aziz Ansari) to help him stay alive.

“30 Minutes or Less” reunites Eisenberg with director Ruben Fleischer. The two worked together on 2009’s “Zombieland,” which Eisenberg followed up with an Oscar-nominated performance in “The Social Network.”
The Daily Texan participated in a roundtable interview with Eisenberg just before he handed out slices of pizza at Austin’s Home Slice on July 11 to promote “30 Minutes or Less.”

The Daily Texan: What is it like playing someone who is constantly panicked?
Jesse Einsenberg: It’s a strange balance between the dramatic situation that my character is in versus the movie as a whole, which plays comedically and lighthearted. Ruben, the director of this movie, asked me to just play the scenes as realistically as possible and keep in mind I’m in a comedy, so if something funny occurs to me, I can say it. I was lucky to be surrounded by the funniest people in the world, who kind of took the burden of making the movie funny off me a little bit so I’m able to maintain the dramatic situation with my character.

DT: Tell me about the development of the dynamic between you and Aziz Ansari.
JE: Aziz was cast before me. When I auditioned, it was with him, so I had to kind of adjust myself to his pace. He’s very quick and uses a lot of random cultural references. I like improvisation, but I’m not as up-to-date. He called me Wayne Brady in my audition, and I didn’t know who that was. I had to do a lot of crossword puzzles to get up to speed before we shot the movie. But it took the burden off my shoulders. I was worried about having to be funny in what would be a very dramatic situation, so I felt unburdened by him because he’s so naturally funny, even when he’s not trying to be funny. He’s just got a funny way about him and naturally funny speech patterns, so it felt more comfortable than it would have if I was with somebody who was playing it more dramatically.

DT: What drew you to this project?
JE: I loved the script when I read it. It’s rare to find a script that’s genuinely funny and has a character that is credible. In most movies, especially most comedies, the characters change based on the whims of the plot. This character was really driving the plot. In the first part of the movie, he’s kind of living a mundane life and he’s kind of a depressive and he doesn’t engage, but when he gets this bomb strapped to him it forces him to re-evaluate his life and to grow up a little bit. It’s very character-driven even though the framing of the movie is funny.

DT: Did you do any of the driving yourself?
JE: I ended up doing a lot of the driving because the director wanted to shoot this movie without a lot of computer-generated driving effects. Most chase scenes now, with the technology available, would be done without the actors really there, but he wanted to do this kind of classic style that would mirror the movies that these guys liked — “Point Break,” “Lethal Weapon,” even “Heat.” To shoot it in the way that they would have shot it, which means putting the actors in the car and putting stunt drivers in 20 cars surrounding the actors and having a single camera just drive next to that scene and shoot it practically.

DT: What was your favorite scene to shoot?
JE: The bank robbery scene in the movie was really challenging but also our favorite. It was logistically challenging because so many things go wrong. The idea is that these regular guys, this elementary school teacher and this pizza guy, have to rob a bank and in their heads, they think they’re Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, but in their bodies, they’re me and Aziz. There’s this great disconnect between what they think they’re doing and what’s actually happening, so they end up kind of looking ridiculous. It was a challenge to shoot because there were so many things to account for, but it was so fun because we were gearing up for it, as actors and as characters. We shot it toward the end of the schedule, and we were anticipating it so much, it was a release to be able to do it.

DT: Can you tell me about your role in the next Woody Allen film, “The Bop Decameron?”
JE: I’m not sure if I can say anything, but I know he’s in it. But I have no idea who he’s playing, because they only send me my scenes. I’m very curious to see, because I think he’s the greatest actor. I love watching him in movies, and I think people underestimate his acting skill because they think he’s playing himself, but if you’re on a set and realize what it’s like to do it realistically, it takes a lot more than just being himself. I love his acting, and I hope we’re in a scene together.

“30 Minutes or Less” opens tomorrow.

Printed on Thursday, August 11, 2011 as: Jesse Eisenberg discusses his latest film

Courtesy of Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc.

In his new movie, “30 Minutes or Less,” Jesse Eisenberg plays Nick, a pizza delivery driver who is unwittingly caught up in a bank robbery scheme. Eisenberg won’t be holding up any banks during his promotional visit to Austin today, but he will be serving free pizza slices for 30 minutes at More Home Slice on South Congress Avenue.

A section of the back patio will be converted to a DJ space and a meet-and-greet spot for Eisenberg.

Home Slice co-founder and partner Terri Hannifin was contacted by the film’s publicity team who asked to use the South Congress location as part of a nationwide promotional tour for the film set to be released on Aug. 12. After handling other crowd-drawing events such as carnivals and South By Southwest, More Home Slice Assistant Manager Aubrey Lempertz said she and her team are prepared for a large turnout. Eisenberg’s arrival has been promoted through radio spots and flyers distributed around the UT campus, so Lempertz said she anticipates a sizable crowd.

“Could be 100, could be 50, could be 200 — we’re ready for a crowd, large and small,” she said.

Lempertz expects to go through 20 or more pizzas during Eisenberg’s visit, but the process will be controlled.

With the possibility of a large crowd in a small venue, Lempertz is hoping to avoid any catastrophes.

“I don’t want any disasters to happen, so I try not to think about them. We’ve been able to handle large crowds before. We’re hoping for a smooth operation all around, and hopefully have something like this happen again. It will sure be fun, definitely,” she said.

And to accommodate an Academy-Award nominee who might not be used to serving food, they’re keeping the process as simple as possible for Eisenberg.

“We’re letting our staff know that Jesse is going to be here serving, and that he’s only serving a certain kind of slice: cheese, pepperoni or margherita,” Lempertz said.

Eisenberg will complete some basic training, such as learning what kind of toppings come with each slice, and will also be assigned to a Home Slice employee.

“He’s going to have a little sidekick to help him, and [Eisenberg] won’t be handling any of the money because the studio is covering the slice cost,” she said.

While Lempertz isn’t worried about dealing with a crowd, she does offer Eisenberg some tips for dealing with the challenges of the pizza business.

“What I can tell [Eisenberg] is just try to listen to what everyone wants and give them a smile — great customer service.”

Printed on 07/11/2011 as: Eisenberg to serve slices to promote his new film