New York Mag has an interview with “The Social Network” director David Fincher, in it he has some very positive and interesting things to say about Jesse!
I loved Aaron Sorkin’s script, which was 162 pages, and when I went to see a screening of The Social Network, I asked how long the movie was and they said, 116 or 118 minutes, and I thought, Oh, no, they’ve cut all the stuff I loved. But it all seems to be there.
No, we just simply said, faster. That was my only real direction — take a minute out of that!
I don’t believe that.
It’s kinda true. The characters in the movie are people who need to get to the end of their thoughts before they can really focus on what it is they meant to say. And in describing it to them that way — I mean, Jesse [Eisenberg, who plays Mark Zuckerberg] actually talks like that, he can do it — but a lot of people would come in and read and say, “Wait, what is he talking about at this point?” And I’d say, “There are people who need to work their way through the kelp beds of their own thought processes on their way to the exact idea they’ve been trying to fucking find, to get to this word and that’s the word that’s he’s actually been looking for.” And once they got that, they took to it like ducks.
It was kind of shocking to hear Jesse Eisenberg doing Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue, because you suddenly realize this is what he was born to do.
We looked and looked and looked. We read every young actor in Hollywood. And it had been rumored on blogs and stuff that we were talking to Jesse Eisenberg. And you know, I hate to be told what to do by blogs, so I was like, “Yeah, we should probably see him but I don’t know if this is his thing … ” And he put himself on tape reading the first scene, and I remember getting this thing on my computer and opening this little QuickTime, and here’s this kid doing Sorkin: the first person that we’d heard who could do Sorkin better than Sorkin.
But was that a language that everyone in the movie kind of had to learn?
The studio initially said, “We don’t know what you’re gonna cut, but you’re gonna have to get it down to a reasonable time limit, you can’t shoot … ” I think it was 166 pages. And Aaron and I went back to the office and I took out my little iPhone and set it down and put the little stopwatch on and said, “Start reading.” And we went through it and he was done in an hour and 59 to two hours. And I called the studio and said, “No, we can do this, it’s gonna be about a two-hour movie.” They said, “You’re crazy.” And I said, “No, I think it can be done that way. If we do it the way that Aaron just spoke it, it’ll be two hours. It’s up to me to have dialogue that pre-laps scenes, and to be able to establish places as quickly as possible.” And when I opened this little QuickTime of Jesse Eisenberg, it was the first time I said, “We’re gonna be under two hours!” He can just flat-out fly. And you can see in his eyes that he is searching for the best way to articulate something in the middle of articulating two other things; he’s processing where he’s going.
Oftentimes, you’ll say to an actor that, you know, the notion of being present is not to be thinking of the next thing you’re going to say but to actually be listening. You know, a lot of people are trained to give you the “thoughtful” thing, but at the same time, they’re trying to process their next line. And Jesse can be half a page ahead, and in the now. I remember turning to Aaron and saying, “Okay, have we ever seen anything this good?” He just said, “That’s the guy.” We brought him out to LA and he came into my office and I said, “Hey, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” And he said, “Great, what do you want me to read? I’ve prepared three scenes.” And I said, “No, no, no. You got the job. We’re just having you here because we wanted to meet you and say hello, but you’re in the movie.” That’s the fun part — to be able to tell them you enjoy what they do.