The Social Network star talks typecasting, OCD and Woody Allen with Lucy Hunter Johnston
Are you worried about being typecast?
As a Hasidic Jew?
No, as a neurotic and conflicted man.
I prefer playing characters that are going through turmoil. Most movie characters are just in service to the story.
Are you looking forward to working with Woody Allen?
He’s my favourite director so I’m really interested to see how he works. The fact that I get to be in the film is a wonderful side benefit.
Does your OCD interfere with acting?
No, on the contrary, I can channel my personal anxieties into a role and it proves a healthy outlet. To manifest the anxiety in the role is a relief and makes it much more comfortable to live outside of the role.
Is it getting better?
Anxiety comes in waves.
How does it manifest itself?
My hands are very clean – I wash them all day long.
Has your life changed since your Oscar nomination?
I get recognised on the street more frequently, which can be irritating but otherwise no.
Do you have anything in common with Mark Zuckerberg?
When you take on a role, even if the character is somebody that you are dissimilar to, you have to identify with the role and look for an emotional connection even if there is not a biographical one. So I don’t run a big company, but I could relate to the experience that he had, that something was taken from him, and that he had to protect something that he created.
Have you met Zuckerberg?
Yes, very briefly. He didn’t discuss the movie, but he was very nice to me. He handled what I imagine was a very uncomfortable situation wonderfully.
Do you have a Facebook account?
I don’t. I have a job that requires me to be in the public eye in the way that makes me extra careful about sharing information.
You are starring in your own off-Broadway play this October, did you write it for yourself?
Yes. I’m interested in characters I haven’t yet had the chance to play, so I was able to create one myself.
Is your writing something you want to take further?
Yes. As an actor you are inundated with calls and attention, but you can also go several months without receiving any. When I’m in those periods I find the time and inspiration to write.
Will you be following the Olympics?
No, I don’t even have a television. I’m not aware of anything that’s like that, where people gather, like the Super Bowl.
how do you relax?
I ride a bicycle every day for many hours.
Do you still get confused with Michael Cera?
Just by my mother.