Jesse Eisenberg spent the lockdown volunteering at an Indiana women’s shelter


The Hollywood Reporter is testing out a new series called “How I’m Living Now,” where they interview entertainment professionals – actors, screenwriters, producers, etc – about how they’re living through the pandemic and how they’re keeping themselves occupied, and whether they’re planning for future projects or what. Recently, they profiled Jesse Eisenberg and I was sort of surprised to find out that he’s actually doing something completely *different* during the quarantine. He and his wife are volunteering at a domestic violence shelter in Indiana?? You can read the piece here. Some highlights:

The road-trip to Indiana: As the shelter-in-place order came down in Los Angeles, Jesse Eisenberg, with his wife, Anna Strout, and their three year-old son, piled into an RV for an impromptu road trip. “It felt like the safest way to do it for us and others,” says the Oscar nominee, who spent ten days in the camper making his way to Bloomington, Indiana, where he and Strout planned to volunteer and help with fundraising efforts for the local domestic violence shelter where his mother-in-law has long worked.

He’s also doing pitch meetings via video conference: Now in Indiana, Eisenberg has also busied himself with pitching his next movie (When You Finish Saving the World, starring Julianne Moore and Finn Wolfhard) over video conference to studios and financiers with his producer, Emma Stone. “I have spent the last two weeks pitching this movie that I wrote and am directing to financiers and studios. I’d have these hour-long pitches with my producers Emma Stone and Dave McCary, and when I was doing that, it felt like a typical work day, except for the fact that it was all on the computer. The days I’m not doing that, my wife and I are volunteering at a domestic violence shelter that my mother-in-law ran for 35 years and that we are deeply connected to.

A bad time for domestic violence: “It’s a very bad time for domestic violence. Because people are isolated together, domestic violence is on the rise. The tragic paradox is that calls are down at shelters because people can’t get away to make calls. The shelter is called Middle Way House, and it is one of six model programs in the country— it has childcare programs, support groups, legal advocacy groups, a transitional housing unit. My wife and I are coordinating donations from local businesses, like our friends at a local bakery, Inkwell Bakery, are donating food to the shelter. And we have been doing some more unusual fundraising efforts, like a community program to buy 400 ferns. The money is going to the shelter and it supports the greenhouse in town.

Amy Schumer donated: “When we got here on the first day, my wife and I got a text message from Amy Schumer, who is a new friend of ours, saying that she would be donating $50,000 to the shelter. This was just out of the blue, but I know she supports issues around domestic violence. I am going to match it but we are also going to try build a campaign to encourage people to look out for their local domestic violence shelters.

Why they went on a road trip: “So, we rented to RV in Los Angeles and dropped it off in Indianapolis. We have driven across country a lot, but we thought it would be prudent to isolate in an RV instead of stopping at hotels. It was a pretty surreal journey in that we were driving through an empty country. We didn’t do a lot of tourism, obviously, but we would drive through major cities that would be empty and we’d see the old theaters in town that would say something like, “Stay strong, Wichita” or “We miss you, Topeka.” So, it was this simultaneously eerie and really heartening trip.

Entertainment during the quarantine: “The Irishman has taken us a week because we don’t have that much time after we put the baby to bed and the movie is, like, sixteen hours long. The movie we watched last night, which was just the best movie I have seen in a long time, was Never Rarely Sometimes Always. My wife is an activist for the kind of rights that are addressed in that movie and, living in the Midwest, that spoke quite specifically to her. I just loved that movie. When I am in New York City, I ride a bike every day so I get in my podcasts on the move; now, I listen to them doing house chores. In five years, I don’t think I have missed an episode of The Gist, which is from Slate, and then I listen to one called Hidden Brain from NPR and Today, Explained from Vox. In terms of reading, I just finished a friend’s book that is called The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova.

[From THR]

I understand the urge to “go home” when you realize that the population is going to be in lockdown for a significant amount of time, so I don’t blame his wife for wanting to go to Indiana and settle in there for the lockdown. But… I do think it’s really f–king strange that as the lockdown orders were coming down, his first instinct was “cross country road trip.” It’s not really “isolating”? They still had to stop for gas and food and such. That being said, I really appreciate the fact that he’s working at a shelter during the pandemic. I… hope he’s doing more of the behind-the-scenes work, you know? I’m not saying he comes across as clinically detached, but he just seems like “fundraising schemes” and “working out the business side” would be more of his wheelhouse.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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11 Responses to “Jesse Eisenberg spent the lockdown volunteering at an Indiana women’s shelter”

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  1. Esmom says:

    No shade to him. He did cross the country in the safest way possible, imo. I’m not a fan of his but I liked reading about what he’s doing and this is pretty humble of him.

    My old co-worker drove across a few states last month to get a mother and her kids out of an abusive situation. They were driving back to the shelter when they got into a crash and he’s now paralyzed from the chest down. It’s been heartbreaking.

  2. Tiffany says:

    I think Jesse is empathetic. I know his is a neurotic mess in interviews but I never thought of him as a sociopath so it does not surprise me that he is doing something like this.

  3. Ferdinand says:

    Didn’t even know he was married and that he had a kid!!!

  4. adastraperaspera says:

    Glad he’s bringing attention to the domestic violence crisis. I can’t ding him for travelling in an RV. We actually considered going in our camper to stay on land owned by family to ride it out. We planned to use gloves at gas stations and never go in anywhere (camper has a bathroom). Then we read more about the situation and realized it would probably be a very long time before the virus is truly contained, so of course it’s safer and better to shelter at home.

  5. BL says:

    He sounds like a super cool guy. I appreciate his generous nature. I like that he is trying to give appropriate “shout outs” by naming the transition house, local bakery, Amy & his author friend.

  6. Lucy says:

    This is actually a pretty great thing to do. Slightly unrelated by I was sure he was still with Mia Wasikowska!

  7. Gigi La Moore says:

    Can’t find a thing he did wrong. I’m glad he is bringing light to DV and helping.

  8. Malificent says:

    I don’t have a problem with the RV — especially since he made it clear that they were not doing regular vacation stuff. RVs have bathrooms. You can bring enough food and water for the trip. And you can use credit cards at the pump and gloves/wipes at the gas station. You can easily drive from LA to Bloomington without coming in contact with anyone.

  9. emmy says:

    I don’t know why this almost made me cry, I guess I’m not having the best week. The RV sounds fine. They can probably do more good than put anyone in danger doing what they’re doing. I love it and I keep thinking of all the people stuck in violent homes right now. It’s all such a shit show.

  10. L says:

    Haven’t the poor women been through enough? I feel for them that they have to be exposed to this dickweed during lockdown. Maybe I’m being unkind but this guy comes across as so entitled and toxic and mean in the interviews Ive seen from him. Seriously are all the comments above from Jesse himself? The guy is NOT what I would call empathic, I would say he comes across EXACTLY like a sociopath in his interviews.