Jesse Eisenberg isn’t as confident as he appears in “Now You See Me.” Nearly three years after bringing his character J. Daniel Atlas, a Robin Hood-esque magician, to life on film, the actor is excited to return to the role for the sequel “Now You See Me 2,” and not just for entertainment purposes.
“These two movies have been the only time I’ve been able to relax in my life,” Eisenberg admitted at a CinemaCon press conference last week in Las Vegas. The 32-year-old actor, who was awarded with male star of the year at the event’s 2016 Big Screen Achievement Awards on April 14, said he can relate to his character, but they couldn't be more different. “This guy is a confident performer. He has worked hard establishing this incredible skill set and doesn’t apologize for it. He is confident, probably in excess, and I, in a lot of ways, am kind of the opposite.”
Eisenberg shared the reason why self-confidence isn't his strong suit. “I perform on stage for a living as my main job and I have total stage fright and anxieties about all of this, and so playing this character … is really the only time I can feel totally at ease.”
Playing J. Daniel Atlas, Eisenberg said, changes his way of thinking for the better and he enjoys losing himself in his character. “You end up just unconsciously taking on the experience of that character, the feelings of that character. If you make the face of somebody confident for 12 hours a day over the course of a few months, you end up just tricking yourself into thinking that you have all those feelings.”
Off screen, Eisenberg likes to keep a distance from criticism about his work and never watches his own films. “I don’t see anything I’m in,” he admitted, saying that he also tried to shy away from the backlash regarding his role as Lex Luthor in DC’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” most of which occurred before the movie even opened.
“I really try to stay in a bubble,” Eisenberg said. “There’s really no way to kind of respond to people criticizing you for a role that you haven’t yet screwed up. It’s certainly odd.”