- Jesse Eisenberg discusses his experience of shooting a gay love scene as a straight man in the film Manodrome.
- Eisenberg worked closely with an intimacy coordinator to navigate the sensitive nature of the scene.
- Director John Trengove reflects on the personal connection between the film’s storyline and his own experiences as a gay man.
Jesse Eisenberg has taken on a variety of roles throughout his acting career, with his most recent project featuring him as a character named Ralphie in John Trengove’s new film Manodrome. Eisenberg talks about his first experience of shooting a gay love scene as a straight man while portraying Ralphie in the drama film.
Manodrome, directed and scripted by Trengove, follows Eisenberg’s Ralphie, who is grappling with his girlfriend’s (played by Odessa Young) pregnancy. Ralphie’s life takes a sudden turn after he becomes acquainted with a mysterious family of men and finds himself becoming fearful and sexually confused. Eisenberg admits that embodying the character of Ralphie in Manodrome was challenging, and it took the actor some time to prepare himself to explore Ralphie’s sexuality.
In an exclusive chat with MovieWeb, Eisenberg discusses portraying Ralphie and his experience of filming a gay love scene as a straight man. He explains, “My character’s questioning his sexuality throughout the movie. And then finally, during the climax of the movie, he finally engages with somebody in that way. And it was this very strange thing because I’m straight, and I didn’t really understand that experience. So it required me to understand what that experience is like, even physically. And then we worked with this amazing intimacy coordinator, which is a new thing in movies.”
He continues by expressing his gratitude for the intimacy coordinator who helped Eisenberg and his co-star, Sallieu Sesay, navigate the complexities of their on-screen relationship. Eisenberg adds that the scene was more of a technical experience than a cathartic one since the actors were focused on doing it correctly without harming one another.
In a recent conversation with MovieWeb, Trengove revealed the personal connection between the storyline in Manodrome and his own experiences as a gay man. He said, “I’m a gay man, and this idea of chosen family is something that’s very familiar to me. And I thought, ‘Well, what if you had a kind of chosen family of men who choose to rehabilitate themselves in a certain way?’ And that’s really kind of where the thinking around the film started.”
Besides Eisenberg and Young, Manodrome also stars Adrien Brody, Philip Ettinger, Sallieu Sesay, Evan Jonigkeit, Caleb Eberhardt, Ethan Suplee, Lamar Johnson, Gheorghe Muresan, Brian Anthony Wilson, Sean Edward Lewis, Brian Brehm, Blake Bregm, Adam Wade McLaughlin, and Matthew Lamb. Currently, on Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 48% critics score and a 17% audience score. Lionsgate’s Manodrome is now playing in theaters, available on demand, and available to rent or buy on platforms such as Google Play or Prime Video.