Actors are a breed who are usually entirely immersed in their craft. You would struggle to find an actor of real merit who is not totally rapt by everything that concerns acting. It can be stagecraft, acting or scripts themselves, but none of these factors is mutually exclusive.
Like with musicians and music, you often find that actors are always huge fans of their chosen discipline and everything that concerns it. Stage, TV, film, they live and breathe every aspect. This is unsurprising, of course, as when we relate this to the most esteemed actors, you realise that their versatile understanding of the craft is underpinned by extensive education in it.
To be able to carry off an array of emotions and play a whole host of characters within different settings, you clearly need to have been doing it for a long time and need to have put in a lot of time in front of the TV or in the theatre to be able to understand the craft on such a tacit level. Our case in point would be the late Christopher Lee, who cut his teeth working in theatres before trying his hand on stage and on both the small and big screen.
This immersion in the craft doesn’t always occur though and it is happening less and less as the years wear on. In short, standards have changed since the days of Christopher Lee and Alec Guinness. These days, possibly due to the advent of technology, you can be a respected actor without having to have cut your teeth as a true thespian. A contentious topic, but the point remains the same.
One creative that fits into this more modern category is Jesse Eisenberg, star of The Squid and the Whale, The Social Network and Zombieland, to name but a few. Back in 2013, he shocked fans by revealing some personal information to the NPR series Movies I’ve Seen A Million Times, including how he diverges from the traditional acting norms and the name of the film he never tires of watching.
Eisenberg revealed how English comedian Richard Ayoade’s 2010 coming-of-age comedy, Submarine, is the film that he’s watched “a million times”. He explained: “A year ago my agents told me that this director Richard Ayoade wanted me to be in a film he was going to make but that they didn’t have a script yet, but that he just made this wonderful movie called Submarine.”
However, Eisenberg shocked fans by totally going against the grain, and stating that he doesn’t actually watch movies, showing how modern actors think differently to those of old. This is something he can possibly be excused of, given that he has starred in so many, and he probably takes it as a welcome break to shut off from the realm of the big screen.
He said: “And I never watch movies, I haven’t watched a movie in, like, 10 years, I just never watch movies, but I started watching it and I thought it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. I watched it again right away, which is something that I never do, and I just now watch it all the time. I find it to be very comforting.”
Eisenberg also discussed exactly why he loves Ayoade’s charming cult classic: “You know, in most comedies, there’s usually like three or four funny scenes and exposition to get you to those funny scenes. And this movie, there’s never those moments. There’s never a moment where you’re feeling like this is a filler scene to get to the next one.”
He continued: “There’s something about every moment in this movie that feels so sweet and fresh and never crass — even though the characters are saying things that are crass, it’s just so surprisingly sweet.”
Given that Jesse Eisenberg has starred in a wide variety of roles, and at one point was known as a star of mainly indie movies, when you actually stop to think about it, it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise that he loves Ayoade’s ever-so British film.
Given that Eisenberg has just reminded you of it, why not revisit Submarine? A joy from start to finish, who can forget the incredible Alex Turner soundtrack?
Watch the trailer for Submarine below.