One of my favorite films at this year’s SXSW was writer-director Riley Sterns’ dark comedy The Art of Self-Defense. In the film, Jesse Eisenberg plays a timid bookkeeper, who joins a neighborhood karate studio to learn how to protect himself after being attacked by a motorcycle gang. At the dojo, he gains a newfound sense of confidence for the first time thanks to his charismatic and mysterious Sensei (Alessandro Nivola). But things are not as they appear, and as he dives deeper into this new world, he’s forced to make choices that could change everything. Trust me, The Art of Self-Defense is something special and the script takes a number of left and right turns you won’t expect, with razor-sharp dialogue and a completely original take on the world of karate.
Shortly after seeing the film, Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola, Imogen Poots and Riley Sterns stopped by the Collider studio in Austin. During the wide-ranging interview they talked about how the movie came together, the awesome dialogue, why the cast was so excited to make the film, what Stearns learned from early screenings, and you can even watch Eisenberg do a Face/Off impression. In addition, towards the end of the interview, Poots teases the Y: The Last Man TV show and Eisenberg talks about returning for Zombieland 2, revealing multiple people wrote multiple scripts over the years.
Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.
Finally, I’d also like to take a moment to give special thanks to our Collider Studio partner, A-List Communications. At the Supper Suite venue in Austin, libations were flowing courtesy of El Tesoro Tequila, Blue Moon Belgian White, and Hint Water. Without these fine folks, we wouldn’t be able to share conversations about movies like The Art of Self-Defense with all of you, so another big thank you to our partners for their support.
Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola, Imogen Poots and Riley Sterns:
- Did they talk about Face/Off on set? Jesse Eisenberg does an impression of Alessandro in the film.
- How did the project originate?
- What’s the film about? The cast talks about their characters.
- Eisenberg and Poots explain why they were so excited to make the film.
- Stearns talks about showing early cuts to director friends of his and the intense reaction to one specific moment.
- Talk about the dialogue in the film.
- Eisenberg and Poots talk about working together in The Art of Self-Defense.
- Poots teases the Y: The Last Man TV show and Eisenbeg talks about returning for Zombieland 2, revealing multiple people wrote multiple scripts over the years.