Jesse Eisenberg’s When You Finish Saving The World Revisits Some Of His Most Intricate Characters [Exclusive Interview]

So it was funny, when the editor and I were cutting the movie, it was like, how many times could we afford to put this wonderful little moment in? Because we’ve put it in too many times and becomes self-conscious. But she’s just full of that. I think an actor of her caliber, status, and experience, I think probably it comes naturally. I don’t think she’s probably thinking of it in a conscious way. I think she gets glasses, feels them on her face, and thinking about the psychology of the character, ends up manifesting in that gesture. I think that’s probably how she’s working, how most people who are probably have done it a million times.

What made you want to take the leap into film in this way? Was it just that it was the last performance medium of this type that you haven’t explored as a writer-creator, or was there something else there?

I literally decided to make it into a film because I wanted this story to have multiple rooms. So my background as a writer is in playwriting. All my plays take place on what you call a single set kind of play. When I was thinking about this story, it occurred to me that it would be so wonderful to show the inside of a domestic violence shelter, a place I know a lot about, but haven’t seen a lot in films. It would also be so wonderful to see this young man’s app, the world of his app, which is called High Hat, kind of a TikTok analog, and I thought, “God, it would be so interesting to juxtapose those two things,” and it’s just impossible to do in theater. Where once you have a screen in theater, the audience just loses … there’s no good way. No one’s cracked the code yet on making a screen fun to watch in theater. Similarly, to show the insight of a domestic violence shelter is possible, but then that’s your set and you can’t go home. I say this all to say that it was no aspiration to be a great filmmaker or even to direct a movie, but this is where the story took me.

“When You Finish Saving The World” premieres in theaters in the United States on January 20, 2023.

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