Soundtrack Of My Life: Jesse Eisenberg

The actor, screenwriter and enemy of Batman Jesse Eisenberg, talks about his love for musical theatre and Wu-Tang Clan.

The first song I fell in love to
Ween – ‘Sweetheart In The Summer’
“It’s from the album ‘La Cucaracha’ and a really romantic track.”

The song I do at karaoke
38 Special – ‘Hold On Loosely’
“The problem with this is it’s not written in a good key for me. It’s not a problem with the song but a problem with my voice. I insisted on continuing to perform it with a live band in front of strangers in New York but luckily this was before everyone had iPhones, so it’s nowhere to be seen.”

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The artist that makes me want to dance
A R Rahman
“Kunal Nayyar, my co-star in my current play The Spoils [on now at London’s Trafalgar Studios] introduced me to this great Indian composer. We play him backstage to get into the mood before performances.”

The song that reminds me of growing up
Wu-Tang Clan – ‘Method Man’
“When I was writing The Spoils, I made sure I scripted it so that there are specific songs that play throughout the show. The first one is ‘Method Man’ by Wu-Tang Clan. Then there are several songs from Billy Joel’s 1977 album ‘The Stranger’ – including ‘Scenes From An Italian Restaurant’. Growing up in New Jersey meant I had very eclectic music tastes.”

The first gig I went to
Dar Williams
“It was only 10 years ago when I saw folk singer-songwriter Dar Williams in New York. I never see live music. Ever. I don’t really like concerts because I’m always worried I’ll end up standing behind the New York Knicks or something. I’ve only been to four concerts in my lifetime: Ween, Dar Willams, They Might Be Giants and U2. I went to see Bono’s band because my best friend loves U2 and I was able to get us some good seats, which was nice.”

The song I want played at my funeral
“I guess I’m the only person that shouldn’t have to make that decision. I’d be the only person on Earth that wouldn’t have a say in it. If there’s a song to remember me by then that’s for everybody else to figure out.”

The first song I remember hearing
Andrew Lloyd Webber – ‘Variations’
“I loved musical theatre growing up so it’s actually one of the instrumental pieces called ‘Variations’ that Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote for his brother Julian, the cellist. I used to call it ‘ghost music’. It was my favourite song when I was five or six years old.”

The song I can no longer listen to
William Finn – ‘Yes’
“After the 9/11 terror attacks in New York, I listened to this song on a loop while I was writing my first screenplay, which I sold to a company in Hollywood when I was just an 18-year-old kid. So over the course of writing, I hardly left my bedroom for, like, two weeks. I must have heard ‘Yes’ [from the 1998 musical ‘A New Brain’] thousands of times. I kinda still like it but I associate it with monotony.”

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The album that changed my life

Ween – ‘Chocolate & Cheese’
“I’d never heard music like that before. I thought it was so clever. It had humour without being explicit. It had incendiary language without being crass. I loved Ween from there on out. It was probably the first album that I thoughtfully purchased as an adult.”

The artist I play before I go on set
Corn Mo
“He’s a phenomenal singer-songwriter who puts me in positive mood. And I like to listen to the soundtrack of the musical Miss Saigon. It’s stuff that’s very comforting and I guess it reminds me of childhood.”

Now You See Me 2 is in cinemas now

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