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.”


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.”


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