Monster: Jesse Eisenberg

Photo: WireImage

You’re a native New Yorker, right?
Yeah, I live here. And I was born in Queens—Bayside. But I grew up in New Jersey. In interviews I just say Queens because it sounds more romantic—not that I create experiences that never happened or anything.

The reason I ask is that you’ve made your name playing characters navigating New York, first in Dylan Kidd’s Roger Dodger and then as a Brooklyn kid in Noah Baumbach’s upcoming The Squid and the Whale, which got a lot of praise at Sundance.
Yeah, it’s not intentional, really. More economic. I mean, in the independent scene here, there’s less incentive to fly someone in from L.A., so they just hire local people like me.

But now you’ve sold out—and you’re playing a Hollywood werewolf!
Well, I picked up Cursed right after Roger Dodger … It’s just that it took a while to shoot—I don’t know what [the studio] is saying—I shouldn’t talk about it. In the independent scene, you’re always signing on to projects and hoping they’ll get financing. I signed on to several projects, none of which happened. Can we go off the record? [We go off the record. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cursed was a troubled production; Dimension demanded reshoots, owing to concerns over “the look of the film’s lead lupine.”]

Why’d you pick this film?
Well, I’d done two movies in more prestigious genres, but this was Wes Craven. I mean, if you’re gonna do a horror movie . . .

Can you give away a twist? What makes this different from, say, The Ring Two?
Well, it’s satirical, socially satirical—set in Hollywood—and it’s one of the only horror films out there that’s not derivative of the original Japanese movie.

How did you research the role?
The studio sent me Teen Wolf and Teen Wolf Too.

I didn’t know there was a Teen Wolf Too.
There’s always a two. Werewolf in London, Werewolf in Paris. I don’t know if they sent me them in preparation or more mockingly.

What did you learn from it?
That it’s true—in horror, the sequels are not only slightly worse, they’re significantly worse.

Monster: Jesse Eisenberg