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Meet The Employees Of Adventureland
ADVENTURELAND becomes such an exhilaratingly funny and emotional adventure entirely because of the people who inhabit it – and from the get go, Greg Mottola knew that casting a group of 20-somethings who would be wholly believable as misfits relegated to minimum wage jobs for the summer would be paramount to pulling the whole thing off.

"Greg is really good at finding faces that are fresh and specific and don't feel at all like they're types,” notes Anne Carey. "And because of ‘Superbad,' it was easier to argue that we didn't need established movie stars for this kind of movie – because the characters and Greg's sense of humor are the defining thing.”

Those characters include:

James Brennan/Jesse Eisenberg:

At the heart of the film had to be a young actor who could give James Brennan, lit major turned Horse Derby operator, a mix of awkward fretfulness and erudite charm that would evoke both his stuck position in life, and his underlying romanticism. That description seemed to be a perfect match with Jesse Eisenberg, the rising young actor who garnered an Independent Spirit Award nomination for his breakout role as a kid trapped in the middle of his parents' separation in Noah Baumbach's "The Squid and the Whale.”

"I think my only hesitation with Jesse was that I thought, well, he was so wonderful in ‘Squid and the Whale,' he's kind of played a younger version of a director before!” says Mottola. "But Jesse is so truly gifted comically and incredibly smart, that he gives a very different and original performance. Jesse is in almost every scene in ADVENTURELAND, and he's always amazing. He has a way of doing awkward very well, yet in the end, he was a much more flattering version of my younger self than the real thing.”

Eisenberg was drawn to James Brennan not only for his inherent comedy but for his downright decency and sincerity. "He's really just a bright, benevolent, sweet guy,” says the actor. "He cares about others to the point where he's still a virgin at 22 because he's very sincerely waiting for the right situation to come along. He's a thinker and he's very contemplative, often too much so. And he has this mix of being clever and optimistic yet miserable that is a lot like me.”

Eisenberg continues: "What I liked most about James is that, like all the characters in ADVENTURELAND, he is so realistically drawn, and a lot of what he goes through feels real because it's based on true experiences.”

Despite Mottola's intimate closeness to the material, he didn't want to overly influence Eisenberg's performance – and he gave Jesse free reign to create his own portrait of how James' feelings for Em finally propel him to do the one thing he's never really done yet in life: act boldly. "Greg was very encouraging to me, and he would share little anecdotes from his past sometimes, but he was also quite mysterious,” recalls Eisenberg. "He's not one of those directors who's constantly talking. Instead, I think that, having chosen these actors, he was very contented to let us each do what we needed to do.”

Perhaps the biggest thrill for Eisenberg was getting to be the chronic straight man in a cast of diversely quirky characters. "It was so much fun being around all these incredible comedians” he notes. "I was thankful I didn't have to compete with them. Since my character is supposed to be the one who's grounded and real, I could just enjoy them without having try to live up to their outrageousness.”

Mike Connell/Ryan Reynolds:

When James starts to fall for the sharp, worldly-wise arcade girl, Em Lewin, he finds himself facing a highly unlikely romantic rival: Connell, who is simultaneously Adventureland's maintenance man and, due to a widespread rumor that he once jammed with Lou Reed, also the park's l

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