When it opened five years ago, people wondered how The Social Network would possibly work. Of course, it did work, but there are quite a few interesting facts about how The Social Network got made and its effects. People wondered how you could write a cohesive screenplay about the ever changing social media world. They wondered how to make coding interesting. The men depicted in the film were among those doubting how it could work, and there has since been some tension about how they felt about the eventual depictions.
Whatever Mark Zuckerberg thinks, The Social Network in many ways set the tone for all the tech-centric biopics that would follow in its wake. The contradictions that create the central emotional tension in the film—how do socially awkward guys create a social platform? What happens when nerds are creating what the cool kids need?—is central to our cultural understanding of Silicon Valley, and is reflected in the parody of Silicon Valley. While the making of The Social Network was not an easy journey, it has rippled through culture ever since. Here are some details about both the prelude to and influence of Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher's Facebook movie, The Social Network.
1. Jesse Eisenberg and his Zuckerberg character shared obsessive compulsive tendencies
Having battled the disorder as a child, Eisenberg said he found it difficult to try and replicate those mannerisms.
2. Natalie Portman provided Harvard insight to Sorkin.
She was a student around the same time as Zuckerberg, and she's indirectly referenced in the film as part of a campus where Zuckerberg was the biggest deal despite "nineteen Nobel Laureates, fifteen Pulitzer Prize winners, two future Olympians, and a movie star."
3. Mark uses the alias Tyler Durden
A reference to Brad Pitt's character in Fight Club, which David Fincher also directed.
4. A Bill Gates impersonator played Bill Gates in the film
Many thought it was a cameo.
5. The Winklevoss twins were played by one actor, Armie Hammer
But a Ralph Lauren model played one of them from the neck down.
6. Former Harvard President Larry Summers liked his domineering portrayal
He described his real meeting with the Winklevosses by saying, "rarely, have I encountered such swagger, and I tried to respond in kind."
7. Fencing lessons helped Eisenberg get into character
Having read Zuckerberg's college essay about fencing, he took lessons and incorporated the required posture and attitude into his character.
8. The opening scene took 99 takes
At least the only scene with a believable woman (played by Rooney Mara) took a little time.
9. Mark Zuckerberg took some Facebook employees to see the film
He didn't think it was accurate, except for the his character's clothing.
10. A lot of the Harvard campus was actually shot at Johns Hopkins University
Harvard apparently resists having movies shot there after Love Story caused too much damage.
11. Shia LaBeouf almost played Zuckerberg
12. Aaron Sorkin had a cameo
As an ad executive. Fincher apparently insisted that Sorkin appear, even though he protested.
13. No Facebook employees were involved with the making of the film
Although Saverin provided information for the book that was the source material.
14. The three leads have had Emma Stone as a love interest
Eisenberg in Zombieland, Garfield in Spider-Man, Timberlake in Friends With Benefits, but only Garfield is dating her IRL.
15. Sorkin's script was 162 pages long
Which would normally yield an almost three hour movie, if the characters dialogue wasn't so brisk.
16. None of the actors met the people they play, except for Justin Timberlake, who met Sean Parker
Fincher didn't want the actors messing with the script.
As Facebook's cofounders are still coming out in criticism of the film, the story of The Social Network is still unfolding. In fact, it's on its way to becoming as mythical as the story upon which it was based.
Images: Columbia Pictures, Giphy (14)