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Jesse Eisenberg Says Becoming a Dad to Son Banner, 7, Has 'Made Me a Lot Happier' (Exclusive)

The actor shares his son with wife Anna Strout

<p>Mat Hayward/FilmMagic</p> Jesse Eisenberg attends the premiere of "Sasquatch Sunset" during the 2024 SXSW Conference and Festival at The Paramount Theatre on March 11, 2024 in Austin, Texas.

Mat Hayward/FilmMagic

Jesse Eisenberg attends the premiere of "Sasquatch Sunset" during the 2024 SXSW Conference and Festival at The Paramount Theatre on March 11, 2024 in Austin, Texas.

Jesse Eisenberg has settled into his favorite role yet — Dad.

At the SXSW premiere of his film Sasquatch Sunset, the Social Network actor, 40, spoke with PEOPLE about how becoming a father to his 7-year-old son Banner has changed him. Eisenberg shares his son with wife Anna Strout.

"My general feeling is I spent the first 35, sorry 33 years of my life worrying about myself," the proud dad shares. "And a lot of these concerns were just narcissistic, self-involved, fantastical problems that I created to just ruin my life."

"And then I spent the next seven years of my life worrying about real things, worrying about another person. And I know it sounds like a self-serving excuse, but it's made me a lot happier."

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<p>Frazer Harrison/Getty</p> Jesse Eisenberg and wife Anna Strout

Frazer Harrison/Getty

Jesse Eisenberg and wife Anna Strout

Related: Jesse Eisenberg Says He's 'So Thankful' When His Son, 5, Acts Like Wife Anna: 'Just Be Like Her'

The actor seldom speaks about his son but shared a similar sentiment about Banner at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.

"I don't think I care any less about my work or like it any less – in some ways, I like it more because it's my one opportunity to get away for a few minutes!" the then-new dad teased.

"But I do think if humans have the unconscious desire at all to be immortal, maybe that feeling of immortality is being accounted for in another way through their children, rather than through their work, so maybe it takes the pressure off that."

Discussing how he manages his mental health, he quipped, "Just selfishly, having a child is the best thing anyone can do for their own anxiety, if your anxiety is like mine, which is to say based in fantasy."

Roy Rochlin/WireImage Jesse Eisenberg
Roy Rochlin/WireImage Jesse Eisenberg

"Because I spent the first 30 years worrying about things that were invisible, and now I get to worry about something that's visible, and there's nothing that's more mentally healthy than worrying about something that's actually existing in the world, rather than worrying about something that doesn't exist at all."

Last year, Eisenberg opened up more about his life as a dad while speaking about directing his film When You Finish Saving the World.

While appearing on Today, the actor was asked if the movie made him think about his relationship with his son. Eisenberg shared that he's "both terrified for my child having any autonomy whatsoever, and I'm also so thankful when he exhibits different personality traits than me."

"I was just praying, probably like a lot of parents, please don't have all the things I have that I hate about myself," he continued.

"I married an amazing woman, I'm praying just be like her, just be like her, please just be everything like her. And for the most part, he's heading in that direction which is the superior choice."

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