Cast of ‘Social Network’ discusses film, characters

“The Social Network” is not a movie about Facebook.

It’s a movie about love, betrayal, paranoia and the truth, all of which are caused by the creation of the social networking site.

The film, directed by David Fincher (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Fight Club”), written by Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing,” “Charlie Wilson’s War”) and based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich, is the story of Facebook’s creator, Mark Zuckerberg. At the heart of the story is Zuckerberg’s creation of one of the most lucrative websites of this generation, and how in creating a website that connects millions of people, he alienates almost all of his social ties.

The three stars of the film, Jessie Eisenberg (Mark Zuckerberg), Andrew Garfield (Eduardo Saverin, Zuckerberg’s best friend who finances the venture only to get kicked out of the company), and Armie Hammer (Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, privileged, socially graceful twins who claim that Facebook was originally their idea), recently spoke with The State Press about the movie.

“You have the case of a bunch of young, smart kids who are at Harvard with probably more money and brains than sense, where not one of them can be pointed as the villain or the bad guy, but you can point to all of them and say, ‘they were immature and they made mistakes along the way that cumulatively led to the events that lead to us making a movie about it,’” Armie Hammer said.

In the film, Zuckerberg does not get portrayed in a flattering light. He’s callous, sardonic, indignant, and outright childish at times. For Eisenberg, depicting the young prodigy was a lesson in justification.

“Playing Mark Zuckerberg, it was my job everyday to defend my character and his behavior,” Eisenberg said. “What an audience might really appreciate is the way that [“The Social Network”] tells this very complicated story without presenting a clear good guy or bad guy, or a protagonist and antagonist. Every character is the protagonist of their own story and the antagonist of the other guy’s story.”

Although Zuckerberg is portrayed as conniving and frigid, for Eisenberg, he was an exciting character to explore.

“I loved my character; I thought he was such an interesting guy. He’s a guy that can appear enigmatic, but I feel like by the end of the movie, you understand where he’s coming from,” Eisenberg said. “Mark, the character, feels lonely and alienated by traditional socialization at school, and instead of just retreating into his room, he creates his own social environment. And yet, even after he’s a billionaire at the end of the movie he’s still kind of left alone.”

The root of all the characters come from Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue-rich script that kept the actors on their toes throughout the filming.

“The dialogue is double edged, because on the one hand it’s so wonderful and Aaron writes so fluidly, every single fault links up, it’s so economical and funny and human,” Andrew Garfield said. “On the flip side of that, to be that articulate constantly is tough, and Eduardo is an incredibly articulate character.”

Garfield also said he feels that, even though the story is about young people, as rich as they are smart, arguing about a billion-dollar idea, it’s a relatable one.

“The creation of Facebook seems like a backdrop to the much bigger human themes that are being played out between these characters, such as betrayal and loyalty and love and power and greed,” Garfield said. “A minor betrayal or a major betrayal — everyone’s been through that, that’s what’s so wonderful about this story; it’s timeless.”

“The Social Network” releases nationwide Friday, October 1, and is rated PG-13.

Reach the reporter at pmelbour@asu.edu


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