Jesse Eisenberg’s ascension to unlikely geeky movie star was a gradual one that required overtaking Michael Cera’s crown as the king of awkward 20somethings. Though he stood out as a teen in small films like 2002’s Rodger Dodger, the film that put Eisenberg on the map for most people was Noah Baumbach’s acidic divorce comedy The Squid And The Whale. Now famous and Oscar nominated, it looks like Jesse might be reuniting with Baumbach on the upcoming While We’re Young. Details on the film are pretty scarce at this early stage, but a few other interesting casting choices are already in place and the tone should be consistent with Baumbach’s previous films that place complicated personalities into difficult situations to watch them squirm and reveal who they truly are. As he proved by playing Mark Zuckerberg, Eisenberg certainly knows his way around making a character empathetic without ignoring his inherent arrogance and that’s exactly what Baumbach needs from his actors. Hit the jump for more details on the upcoming flick.
As reported by the LA Times, Eisenberg is currently in discussions to play a lead role in While We’re Young. Though an official announcement hasn’t been made yet, given Jesse’s strong working relationship with Baumbach in the past and the dearth of comedy screenplays with the word “land” in the titles at the moment, it should be a lock. The independently financed film would be about a middle aged couple who become alienated by their friends when they start pooping out babies, so they try to befriend a younger couple to help them loosen up. That’s the basic plotline, but given it’s a Baumbach movie, we can expect plenty of alienation, humiliation, and painful truths to find their way into that comedy set up.
The film will star Ben Stiller (who just worked with Baumbach on Greenberg) as 1/2 of the older couple with Naomi Watts currently also in discussions to play his better half. Eisenberg would play part of the younger couple. Stiller has long been involved, but the rest of the case recently went through a shake up with Watts stepping into a role that was once assigned to Cate Blanchett and Eisenberg in discussions to replace James Franco. I can’t imagine there’s anything wrong with the movie that would lead to those actors dropping out. Quite the opposite, I’d say the quality of all the names involved speaks highly of Baumbach’s screenplay and his track record proves he knows a thing or two about intelligent writing and creating a collaborative working relationship with actors. I’m sure the inevitable scheduling and budgetary issues that plague all independent films have caused delays and there’s no way any of those highly in-demand actors would have much wiggle-room in their schedules between movies.
Once Eisenberg and Watts inevitably sign on, expect While We’re Young to become a must see movie. That cast will attract attention and though Baumbach’s painfully honest, subtle, and caustic comedy style will alienate many viewers who are there just for the stars, it’s nice to know that filmmakers are still out there making character-driven movies with a specific point-of-view that don’t just mindlessly try to please everyone. Noah Baumbach may not be to everyone’s taste, but he’s certainly got a unique voice and it’s fantastic that name actors are willing to lend him a little star power to help get his projects off the ground. We need more people like him making movies out there.