Jesse Eisenberg Bemoans Being Cast in Oscar-Winning Dramas Instead of ‘Saturday Night Live’
Imagine you’re an actor who became a big name in Hollywood by starring in acclaimed, award-winning dramas in your early career. Now imagine that the Oscar-winning movie route was your plan B.
Jesse Eisenberg, the star of such beloved dramas as The Squid and the Whale and The Social Network, recently commiserated with another Hollywood wunderkind, Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard, about how Hollywood keeps giving them emotionally complex parts in popular, high-quality dramatic projects instead of letting them live their dreams of doing George Santos impressions on Saturday Night Live.
Eisenberg and Wolfhard interviewed each other for Interview Magazine following the release of Eisenberg’s directorial debut, When You Finish Saving the World, which stars Wolfhard as a self-serious teenaged musician who has a strained relationship with his mother, played by Julianne Moore. Eisenberg and Wolfhard both bemoaned how Hollywood made them massively successful by casting them in dramatic roles after denying them their real dreams of being SNL cast members. Break out the bite-sized violins.
“When I was younger, I wanted to be on Saturday Night Live,” Eisenberg told Wolfhard. The two were discussing Wolfhard’s affinity for surrealist comedy like the stylings of Tim & Eric despite his acting work largely having been in serious roles. Said Eisenberg, “I wrote a portfolio that I submitted. It’s funny because in some ways you follow your taste, and in other ways, the entertainment industry tells you what you’re good at.”
Apparently, what Eisenberg was good at is getting work in some of the most well-received dramatic projects in entertainment. Just this past November, the Eisenberg-starred miniseries Fleischman is in Trouble released to rave reviews and a handful of awards nominations. One of Eisenberg’s first big breaks was in another divorce drama, Noah Baumbach’s 2005 film The Squid and the Whale. “In some way, it was like the entertainment industry told me, ‘Hey, this is what you can do well,’” Eisenberg reiterated to Wolfhard.
Wolfhard empathized with Eisenberg’s horrible, awful luck, adding, “I wanted to be a cast member on SNL. That’s all I wanted to be. I took a few improv classes when I was a kid and all that stuff. And then realized that I just don’t have — if I wanted to be on SNL, then I would’ve just had a completely different path.”
It’s funny how everyone who gets famous for massively popular dramatic roles only ever wants to be on SNL, while everyone on SNL only wants to make an award-winning drama. Apparently, the A-List is a place where everyone is successful and nobody’s happy. Maybe that’s the real reason why actors always cry when they win an Oscar — they’re all so sad they’re not on Weekend Update instead.