-Thank you so much. -This is a very fun film. I would say the best way to
describe it is a satire about, for lack of a better term,
toxic masculinity. Would that be accurate?
-Yeah, that's exactly right. Yeah, it's like a kind of — It's like
a subverted sports movie. You know, the sports-movie genre
is about kind of a weak guy who gains his confidence
from athletics. You know, something none of us have probably
ever actually done. But in this movie,
my character turns into, like, this brutish, crazed,
like, cult guy. Yeah, so it's kind of like
a very skewed version of a sports movie.
-I got you. As we see there, your entrée into changing yourself
is going to a karate class? -That's right. -Did you have to learn a fair
amount of karate for the film? -Yes, I learned, like, you know, the bare minimum of karate
for the film, yeah. [ Laughter ] Yeah, I mean, I had, like,
a three-week, very intensive karate training for this movie,
which — The only thing it entailed,
though, was just having me just shut up and stop talking
the whole time. 'Cause I don't know about you,
but when I'm not good at something right away,
which is often, like, I just try to mock it
to get myself through it. You know what I mean?
-Yeah. -Like, you know, if I can mock
it, then I'm better at it. And then, it's meaningless,
and then being not good at it is some kind of, like —
it's some kind of a reward. -Yeah.
[ Laughter ] -I made so many jokes about it,
I must be much better than it. [ Laughter ] And so, yeah.
So I just spent three weeks mocking it,
and then the instructor, this woman, Mindy Kelly, who's,
like, one of the greatest martial artists in the world,
just told me to shut the — shut up, and then,
occasionally — [ Laughter ]
-Yeah. -Occasionally shut —
and then, she cursed at me. Something like that.
-Yeah. Did you do —
Was karate something you'd ever dipped your toe in
when you were younger? -That's the exact amount of my
body that I dipped into it, yes. [ Laughter ] Yeah, I did like a few weeks of,
you know, Jewish suburban karate
in New Jersey. [ Laughter ] -That's where they say
all the best masters come out of
the Jewish suburbs, yeah. -Yeah, I was actually in class
with Jet Li, and at the time, he just seemed like one of us.
-Sure. -You know, it's amazing.
And of course, you know, in retrospect, I guess — You know,
you almost kick yourself for not getting an autograph.
-It's short for Libowitz, right? Jet Libowitz?
-Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's actually Jeff Libowitz.
-Oh, Jeff Libowitz. -Jeff Libowitz. But it didn't fit on the poster,
so, you know, they do that. -Yeah, right.
Then, Jet Li, sure, sure. That happens.
-But he did pave the way for us, him and Woody Allen.
[ Laughter ] I feel indebted
to all of those people. No, and then, you know,
I quit immediately, like the rest of the class,
when we realized we're just gonna grow up
to be accountants, anyway. [ Laughter ]
And we don't have to come here. -Yeah.
-Yeah. -There were — Another thing
your character does in the film is you upgrade — in order
to become more masculine, you upgrade your dog. So you sort of have the dog
your character starts with and the dog your character
ends up getting. -Yes.
-What was it like having the different breeds in the film
and on set? -So, the first dog I had
was a dachshund, which is, like, you know, a German dog
but a very sweet, docile thing with tiny comic legs, and then,
conversely, a long body. And then, when my character
turns into, like, this brutish, aggressive guy,
he gets a German shepherd, which is the opposite and not comic version
of the dachshund, right? And so, like, on set,
we spent a week with this, like, adorable dog
that everybody loved, that took great direction
and was very sweet and didn't scare anybody. And then we had
this German shepherd who literally spoke German,
which I don't know if you've — [ Laughter ] I don't know if you've heard
the language, but it's — -Yeah.
-You could say something nice in German, and it's still
kind of — you shiver. [ Laughter ] And then, you couldn't make
eye contact with this dog. -Was that, like,
something they told you when they brought it on set? -Yes, they told us that,
and then — Some people, unfortunately,
did — no, no, no. [ Laughter ] And then, there's a guy
who really likes to connect with things.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah. -He didn't make it.
-Wasn't good for him? -Yeah, yeah.
-Is it true that one of the dog handlers was —
or at least claimed to be — I shouldn't be so skeptical —
a pet psychic? -She claimed to be,
and, of course, I'm skeptical of all things
like that, you know, 'cause I'm, you know,
normal people. -Yeah.
[ Laughter ] -And then — And then, she —
she pulled through. Like, she talked to the dog,
and the dog responded. It was, like,
an unbelievable experience. It's one of these things that,
if you're a cynical person, it's like one of these things
that chips away at your bedrock of jadedness. -But, see, I just think that — Again, what you described is,
like, a dog trainer. Like, not necessarily
a pet psychic. -Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah. Yeah, you're right.
Yeah. Still jaded, yeah.
-Yeah. -Cynicism, you won again. [ Laughter ] The world sucks. -You got — Your character only
makes it up to a yellow belt. -Yellow, that's the worst.
-The worst of the belts. Yeah. -But I heard that you kept
the belt as a souvenir. -Not really.
I keep all the clothes from the movies I've done so that I don't
have to buy clothes. -Gotcha.
[ Laughter ] -And most of the time,
I do movies where I'm play– Like, most of this is
from a sequel to "Zombieland." You know?
[ Laughter ] But I just save everything
just on the off chance that I'm gonna need it.
You know what I mean? Because I don't like
buying things. And so,
I have the yellow belt belt, but I can't imagine any real
situation where I'd pull it out. -Yeah. That seems weird that
it's not just a souvenir, the fact that you might one day
be like, "You know what's gonna really
pull this outfit together?" -Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. The fact that I look upon
everything as practical. Maybe I could use this
as a toothbrush. -Yeah.
-Well, you know, it is a couch. But no, just an aversion
to purchasing. -I've heard that one of the
things you were drawn to in this film
is sort of the dialogue and the way the dialogue
is spoken. Can you speak
to that real quick? -You can kind of see it
in the clip you saw, but that is kind of like a mild
version of what this movie is, which is like
this incredibly strange tone where all the characters speak
in deliberate ways exactly as — with saying
exactly what's on their mind. It's just — And it's really —
it's so funny. I mean, the movie
is such a brilliant satire and kind of uses this bluntness
to kind of emphasize what's so strange about
what these people are saying. -And do you feel like — As you sort of become this
character who becomes like, you know, again, more aggressive
and obviously a little stronger the way he —
at any point, do you think, "Man, I should take this journey
myself, Jesse Eisenberg?" -I think about this every
morning when I wake up. You know, "God, wow,
this really sucks, but it'd be great to be
a stronger version of me." [ Laughter ] And then, I take my clothes off
to go into the shower, and I realize it's futile.
[ Laughter ] Like, this is about it.
Yeah. -Well, the film's fantastic. It's always so great
having you here. Thanks so much.
-Thank you so much, Seth. -Jesse Eisenberg, everybody.