“He’s like some sort of genius”: Jesse Eisenberg Was Dumbstruck By Kieran Culkin’s Superhuman Ability While Filming ‘A Real Pain’

Kieran Culkin's unpredictable work ethic kept Jesse Eisenberg on his toes during the filming of A Real Pain.

“He’s like some sort of genius”: Jesse Eisenberg Was Dumbstruck By Kieran Culkin’s Superhuman Ability While Filming ‘A Real Pain’


  • After the immense success of Succession, Kieran Culkin starred in A Real Pain.
  • The Emmy winner stunned Jesse Eisenberg on the set with his insane ability.
  • Culkin also jokingly told the young director that he didn't need his notes.
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Kieran Culkin has perhaps enjoyed the most prolific 2024 awards season, sweeping Best Actor awards at the Golden Globes, the Critics Choice Awards, and the Emmys for his performance in Succession.

Kieran Culkin as Roman Roy in Succession
Kieran Culkin as Roman Roy in Succession

His character Roman Roy spent the first two seasons of Succession belittling those beneath him from the sidelines. However, Roman was at the heart of Jesse Armstrong’s story in the final season. The showmakers decided to show a more vulnerable, human side of Logan Roy’s youngest son after the patriarch’s death. Culkin grabbed the opportunity by both hands and delivered a compelling performance – the result of which he’s savoring now.

Culkin has not only impressed the juries of the aforementioned awards with his talents, he also left Jesse Eisenberg surprised while working with him on the set of A Real Pain.


Read more: Succession: Kieran Culkin’s $13 Walmart Shirt Auctioned for an Unbelievable Amount, Another Roman Roy Prop Sold for a Whopping $25,000

How Kieran Culkin Surprised Jesse Eisenberg During A Real Pain’s Filming

Jesse Eisenberg, who’s known for his tendency to immerse himself in his roles, came across Kieran Culkin‘s unpredictable way of working while directing A Real Pain. 

Kieran Culkin and Jesse Eisenberg in A Real Pain
Kieran Culkin and Jesse Eisenberg in A Real Pain

The Social Network star has also written and produced the comedy-drama about two cousins, who travel to Poland after their grandmother’s death to learn more about their family background. Yes, you guessed it right – he’s also in the film, portraying David Kaplan. Culkin is playing his cousin, Benji Kaplan.


Eisenberg, 40, is in the very early stage of his journey as a director and he’s already got the opportunity to work with Culkin, whose work ethic and subsequent delivery left him scratching his head. The young filmmaker recalled (via The Sundance Institute – Instagram):

“He would say in the morning time ‘Hey, what scene are we doing today?’ And I would say ‘the scene on the train where you have a five-minute monologue.’ And he’d say, ‘Yeah, I love that scene. That’s a good scene.’ And so I would say, ‘Do you have the script? Can we get the script?’ and he was like, ‘I think somebody left in the other room for me.’ And I was like, ‘Just take all of ours, take ours.’ And he’d look at the thing and he’d look at it once, and he was like, ‘Yeah okay, I’m okay.’ And I was like, ‘You want to talk about anything?’ He’s like, ‘No, don’t talk to me about this at all.’ He put the thing in his pocket and he would be perfect. It’s like some sort of genius.”

However, Culkin’s unpredictable persona could’ve ruined Eisenberg’s project, as the mercurial talent tried to drop out of the movie after $1 million had been spent. Nevertheless, he eventually got on with it and delivered a brilliant performance.

Read more: “I’m gonna turn the world off for a week”: Kieran Culkin Plans To Go Off the Grid After a Sweeping Award Season Leaves Actor Feeling “Like Sh*t”


What Kieran Culkin Told Jesse Eisenberg on the Set of A Real Pain

A Real Pain got a standing ovation at the Sundance Film Festival and further underlined Culkin’s immense acting prowess.

Kieran Culkin in Succession
Kieran Culkin

Despite his initial reluctance to work in the film, Culkin enjoyed his time on the set and built a very friendly rapport with the director. When asked about his experience of working with Eisenberg, the Succession star revealed (via Vulture – X):

“Right after the first scene, he’d be like, ‘Cut,’ and start giving me notes. And my first thought is, like, b-tch, I got notes for you, too. I don’t want to be noted by an actor. Get out of here. F-ck you.”

Apart from Culkin, Eisenberg also got the opportunity to direct veteran actor, Jennifer Grey. The Dirty Dancing star plays Marcia, a divorcee who establishes a special bond with Benji.


Written by Vishal Singh

Articles Published: 514

Vishal Singh is a Content Writer at FandomWire. Having spent more than half a decade in the digital media space, Vishal specializes in crafting engaging entertainment- and sports-focused stories. He graduated from university with an honors degree in English Literature.