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Jesse Eisenberg: My new movie is a ‘hilarious satire on masculinity’

Jesse Eisenberg’s new movie, “The Art of Self-Defense,” opened in a downtown Brooklyn mall where nobody need ever ask, “What are you wearing?” The dress code was ripped jeans, micro shorts, crappy tees. A clean shirt you get hissed.

Beforehand, in some crowded cocktail thing, they served New Amsterdam gin plus Volcán Blanco tequila. And a waiter stood on my table to paste up a wall photo. And the noise? Syria’s quieter.

So, Jesse, after this, you back to Hollywood?

“No, my home’s Indiana. Great schools, great music industry, great basketball team. And I’m a novelty. If they didn’t know I make movies, I’d just be seen as the thinnest person in town.”

OK, I shouted, so tell me about your movie.

“The director sent me the script. I read 10 pages out of curiosity, thought it’s a sports movie and nearly turned it down. Then I realized it’s an unbelievably hilarious satire on masculinity which subverts the sports genre. It’s the funniest script I ever read.

“Suburban kids now take three hours of karate. It’s a new thing. In this, a timid guy, after being set upon, joins a karate studio to learn to defend himself.

“Director Riley Stearns wrote the script in 2015. Suddenly, surprisingly, the theme’s relevant today. In one scene, I get kicked in the chest by Imogen Poots, who’s a hardcore karate brown belt.

“From the film I saved my yellow belt. My character decides he wants to buy a yellow leather belt, and then buys one for the entire class. My entire personal wardrobe is made up of stuff I keep from movies I make.”

At least I think the terrific actor Jesse Eisenberg told me that. Not sure. The noise level in the party’s pre-premiere hasheteria was so deafening he maybe said he’s playing a waltz instructor on the Blue Danube. Whothehell

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