ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Oscar-nominated actor, Jesse Eisenberg is in Albuquerque getting ready to shoot and direct a movie during the pandemic. He’s also been working hard volunteering and advocating for victims of domestic violence. “I’m happy and relieved to be here in Albuquerque,” said Eisenberg. “I’m directing a movie, so we’re in preproduction here.”
Famous for blockbuster hits like Zombieland, and the Social Network, Eisenberg discussed his upcoming film and the work he and his wife have been doing to help victims of domestic violence. “My mother-in-law ran a domestic violence shelter for 35 years called the Middle Way House, it’s based in southern Indiana,” said Eisenberg. “And so during the pandemic, they lost a lot of their volunteer base, so my wife and I went to Indiana to try to fill in that gap.”
“I spent the pandemic painting, fixing toilets, and garbage disposals to try to kind of, you know stay busy, stay active, and do something positive,” he said.
The film he wrote and will direct features a character who runs a domestic violence shelter. It’s adapted from an audiobook available on Audible that Eisenberg wrote, called ‘When You Finish Saving the World.’ “It shows, you know the difficulties of leading a complicated organization like that,” Eisenberg explained.
During the pandemic, he said actress and comedian Amy Schumer reached out, donating $50,000 to the Middle Way House shelter. “We matched her donation, raised money, and then made a public service announcement with her,” said Eisenberg.
“In the United States, domestic violence is on the rise,” the PSA states. “Every minute, 20 people experience intimate partner violence. Almost 2,000 shelters provide a safe space 24/7, 365 days for individuals fleeing violence. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 800-799-7233.”
With New Mexico in another shutdown, Eisenberg wants people to know, “Shelters are open and helping. It’s really important, especially now, for people to know that.”
While it’s been a tough year for just about every industry, Eisenberg shared what it’s like preparing for a film in a pandemic.
“Basically a sixth of our budget goes to COVID precautions,” he said. “I think we as a movie company look at all of that as a great benefit, you know, that we’re in a place that’s taking it really seriously.”
The last eight months have been humbling, he said. “I think a lot of people I know have had that experience, you know, they’ve been forced to kind of shift their thinking on what is valuable in their lives and how they could be most useful in the world,” said Eisenberg. “And hopefully a lot of good, and sustainable good will come out of that.”
KRQE News 13 also asked what New Mexicans will want to know: Red, or green? He said he and his family recently had takeout from Andele Restaurant in Mesilla. “I had green chiles, they’re still lingering in my body, but it was delicious nonetheless,” said Eisenberg.
Domestic Violence PSA
Information about local shelters in New Mexico:
- DVRC (Domestic Violence Resource Center)
- The Safe House
- Haven House