Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Jesse Eisenberg explains how anxiety, RV skills have made him an unlikely pandemic survivalist

Jesse Eisenberg, Jimmy Fallon
Jesse Eisenberg, Jimmy Fallon
Screenshot: The Tonight Show

Jesse Eisenberg, like most of Hollywood (and not-Hollywood) doesn’t have much going on right now. Explaining to Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday’s Tonight Show that he and his family embarked on a cross-country road trip once the pandemic hit Los Angeles, Eisenberg painted the perhaps incongruous picture of The End Of The Tour star behind the wheel of a big-ass recreational vehicle all the way back home to Indiana. Calling his choice of family conveyance the safest, most pandemic-responsible way to bring everyone straight through the middle of America, Eisenberg also shared pictures he took of his rented camper van alone on the grounds of a museum and told Fallon about being the only family at the entire Grand Canyon. Which sounds sort of cool, if you discount the whole Zombieland/The Last Man On Earth vibe.

Still, as Eisenberg said, he’s been able to weather the isolation and fear of living in a country glancing askance at every stray gust of possibly contaminated wind thanks to his finally useful superpower—crippling lifelong anxiety. “Anytime there’s a real crisis in the world, I’m like kind of an American hero,” joked-not joked Eisenberg, saying, “I’ve been anxiety-free ever since the pandemic struck.” Eisenberg, who’s always been forthright about his struggles with anxiety and depression, boasted that those among us who walk around “364 days a year American coward” are the only ones fully prepared for a world where even a trip to the grocery store is as life-or-death stressful as dodging zombies in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. “When something happens,” we’re the only ones that are ready for it,” stated Eisenberg of himself and his similarly anxious peers.

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Along those lines, Eisenberg also told Fallon about his pandemic project, the optimistically titled Audible audio drama When You Finish Saving The World. Written by and co-starring Eisenberg (plus Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard and Booksmart’s Kaitlyn Dever), the produceable-in-responsible-isolation audio drama follows the three members of a family through various times in their individual lives as they ruminate upon how they got where they are. Eisenberg told Fallon that indie distributors A24 have already picked up his audio novel for a film adaptation, to be directed by Eisenberg and starring Julianne Moore in the relatively virus-scarce air of Manitoba. And while Eisenberg’s newfound RV skills will no doubt serve him well heading into the Canadian wilds, he did say that the responsibility of putting something out under A24's nigh-impeccable imprimatur has filled him with some of that old, familiar dread. “I’m having trouble,” stammered Eisenberg at the thought, “Just because of my own pessimism, picturing the thing that I’m worried I’m gonna make coming out after the logo that I have a lot of confidence in.”

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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