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August 23, 2022 12:56 pm
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Jesse Eisenberg to Direct, Write and Star in Film About Jewish Roots, Family and Holocaust History in Poland

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Jesse Eisenberg speaking at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con International. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Jewish actor Jesse Eisenberg will direct, write and star alongside “Succession” actor Kieran Culkin in a film about two estranged cousins who travel to Poland after their grandmother dies to learn about her life and, in turn, join a Holocaust tour, Screen Daily reported.

“They have a funny, fraught relationship,” Eisenberg, who has family roots in Poland, said about the main characters in “A Real Pain,” which will begin filming March 2023 in Warsaw.

The “Social Network” star added about his new film, “it’s a bittersweet story, as we realize maybe we don’t fully belong together, but against the backdrop of this incredibly dramatic history. I’m trying to ask the question: is modern pain valid against the backdrop of real historical trauma? I think I’m speaking to the experience of people [in their 30s] who go back and it’s foreign to them – and now suddenly real.”

Supporting the project is the US production company Fruit Tree, which also produced Eisenberg’s feature directorial debut, “When You Finish Saving The World.” The Oscar-nominated actor said he hopes to use “as much of the crew as I can bring” from his first film alongside a Polish crew. He noted, “luckily I’m shooting in a country that has an amazing film tradition.”

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Eisenberg has explored themes surrounding the Holocaust in his previous projects as well in his 2013 play, “The Revisionist,” which was inspired by a trip he took to Poland where he met a second cousin who survived World War II.

In the 2020 drama “Resistance,” Eisenberg took on the lead role of real-life French mime Marcel Marceau, who was a central figure in the French Resistance against Nazi forces and helped rescue Jewish children during World War II. Eisenberg, who lost family members in the Holocaust, previously said his family hails from an area in Poland very near to where Marceau’s father came from. The actor said playing Marceau on screen was “the most fulfilling experience I’d ever had.”

Talking about his family’s connection to the Holocaust, Eisenberg said in 2020, “I became obsessed with my family’s history during the war when I was 19 years old. I would see my aunt every week — she died last year at 106 … She was born in Poland and then when she was about nine she came to America … I became really fascinated and it was interesting for me as an American teenager to have some connection to something that was so much more historically relevant than my own life.”

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