How did you feel when approached to do a movie about Facebook? Did you all cringe and think of other geek related movies and how they usually bombed?
Andew Garfield: I think I had the reaction that most people have, which is that a movie about Facebook sounds really boring, and then immediately after that, my lack of imagination was made very clear to me when I saw the script that Aaron Sorkin had written.
I had no idea that there was such turmoil and turbulence and excitement – just an interesting situation surrounding the inception of the website. So, of course, after having read the first 10 pages or so of the script, I was just like, ‘This is a work of real, amazing art.’
I was incredibly excited to be a part of it, and from that point on I had no doubt that it was going to be a film that was going to be really fun to do.
Justin Timberlake: I think our introduction to the film was the fact that we were going to be reading an Aaron Sorkin screenplay, so the answer’s ‘no’. I think if I’m maybe 5% more adept to what Facebook is now; I was completely ignorant before. I got sent the screenplay and said ‘Yeah’ to the script Aaron Sorkin wrote, I believe they said was about Facebook, but I didn’t hear that part weirdly enough.
But I think they said Fincher’s going to be directing it, and so I just… immediately going into it, you knew that whatever it’s going to be, it’s going to have a high level of integrity and intelligence and class.
And so, what I found was not a story about Facebook at all, but a more story about youth and friendship and betrayal the way that Aaron writes is much like a playwright; very Greek in its structure. Hard to read though, because I don’t know Greek.
Jesse Eisenberg: I heard they were making a movie about Facebook, and thought that was a strange idea for a movie, you know, how interesting could that possibly be?
Then, like Justin, I heard that Aaron Sorkin was going to be writing it, and thought this must very special, and that David Fincher was going to direct it, so I thought there must be something else. So it’s not only a very special story, but something that could be the backdrop for a very interesting aesthetic, like David Fincher likes to bring to all his movies.
And when I read the script, I thought: ‘This is perfectly Aaron Sorkin.’ It perfectly reflected everything I loved about Aaron Sorkin – the clever dialogue, very interesting characters, raises kind of, contemporary issues, and there basically no easy answers.
I wondered how David Fincher’s could bring his kind of visual style to the movie and didn’t know what that would be until I saw it last week, and he created a very unsettling tone to the whole thing.
When the characters are creating Facebook, and it’s this very kind of exciting feeling, and it feels young and fresh and new and inspired and then when justin comes in, Justin brings that real kind of danger to it, the dark side of early success.
Did working with David Fincher live up to your expectations?
AG: They kind of superseded my expectations; I was really scared to work with him.
On the first hand, I’m a fan of his, and I love his films and just to be a part of one of his pictures was an incredibly exciting prospect. But of course you start to hear about all the takes he does, and for some reason that fills you with fear. But you realise it’s all for an incredibly valid reason – you get given so much time to make mistakes.
He wants to beat the acting out of you and he wants you to not try, and whatever moments you find, be alive in the moment.
That’s what the greatest performances are; great actors do that, they’re able to just be alive, and there, and spontaneous, and it’s so exciting and dangerous to watch. So I think David wants to engender that in all of his actors, so actually it superseded it in that respect.
And his attention to detail and specificity was incredible. And it superseded my expectations in the way he’s so guiding, just so guiding, and he knew the story he wanted to tell so well, and he wanted to get everything in the story simply.
JT: It completely surpassed anything that I could ever have expected. He’s peerless as a visualist, but what you really realise is how much of an actor’s director he is.
What you really crave as an actor is just specificity. You know, we love to create, and will go off on a tangent and will go to as far a place as we can go. But knowing where we’re asked to go, and being asked in a very specific way and also being guided, because there are things that you do that you internalise and you don’t know how your body is going to process that as an actor, and to have David be so specific.
I remember him pointing out things that my eyebrow would do, and I remember thinking, ‘How the fuck did you see that?’ So to have that experience with him, you just felt like no stone went unturned, and also in his process, it’s widely known that he does a lot of takes, and I think I was a little intimidated by that walking in, but found it to be a very freeing experience.
Really why he does that many takes is because he wants to afford the actor the opportunity to try everything, and then give himself the time to see things that could make the character even that much more interesting.
JE: They’ve said it perfectly. Exceeded all expectations.
The film is called The Social Network. How does one go about becoming part of your social network?
AG: Uh… you have to be a nice person. That’s a pre-requisite, you just to be nice, and generous. You know, any age is welcome, any race of people welcome. Just be nice really. [Laughs]
JE: That assumes we have the same social network…
JT: They have to love Angry Birds.
JE: [Laughing] Yeah. And take beautiful private jets, so good luck with that.
We’ve been really interested to see the reaction that the people who appreciated this movie have transcended age and gender around the country – around our country, and now Europe.
The reaction across the board has been varied, always positive, but varied. The older generation tends to see it as, you know, a kind of, as a morally-questionable character and a cautionary tale…
JT: A coming-of-age type story.
JE: But a cautionary coming-of-age story – what not to do. The younger generation, and we’ve taken it to colleges across the country, and the younger generation views it as a heroic rise to power, and view the moral implications of some of his decisions as less threatening.
Has anyone who works for Facebook sent any notes or emails about the film? Do you know if any of their employees have seen it, with or without the blessing of Zuckerberg?
AG: I think we got wind that Mark Zuckerberg had rented out a movie theatre, rented out the whole theatre, and put his employees in it to watch the film, and then went out and bought them drinks after.
He seems to be treating it with great pride. But no, apart from that I have no idea. Oh, and Jesse’s cousin works at Facebook. I think he liked the film a lot. [Laughs]
JE: Yeah, Mark last Friday, rented out a theatre in California, where Facebook is located, and took all of his employees to see the movie. And my cousin is, coincidentally, one of those employees, and Mark said he liked the parts of the movie that he thought we got right. I’d like to meet him.
Jesse, how do you feel about Zuckerberg’s apparent opposal of the movie? He said he would never watch it, so we’re curious how you feel about portraying someone who has no interest in the film…
JE: I could imagine it must be very uncomfortable to have a movie about yourself, especially about things that, if you could go back, you might decide to do things differently. I mean, all the actors I know become uncomfortable watching themselves on film, and they were there on set and hired to read somebody’s lines.
I can only imagine what it must be like to have a story that claims to be about your life, and yet you have no involvement in it. It must be really uncomfortable, and I think it’s really admirable that he’s reacting in such a kind of friendly way.
Jesse, if you were to meet Mark Zuckerberg, what would you ask/tell him?
JE: I dunno, I’ve thought about this a lot, because I expect to meet him soon, and I haven’t come up with either a good question, or the right compliment.
I know so much about him, I think it might be off-putting to tell him about what he did when he was young, because he already knows and I wouldn’t compliment him, because he’s already been lauded by so many. And he’s aware of his own success, he doesn’t need to hear it from me. So I’d just like to kind of shake his hand, almost as a resolution to this entire experience.
How did you feel when you saw The Social Network trailer?
AG: It drove me crazy, I went nuts over it. I get shivers thinking about it – how they managed to create a trailer that was so moving.
At the beginning, those Facebook images I thought was just incredible, then weaving in the choir singing ‘Creep’ with the images from the film; there was a symbiosis, there was this kind of holistic…
It was this holistic trailer somehow; everything was part of the same intention. It was just like this explosion.
David showed it to me, the first cut of it, in an ADR session, when we were doing dubbing, some vocal looping after the film, and he showed it to me. I cried I think watching it, it was so beautiful; so sad somehow. And that line, ‘I don’t belong here’ – it’s just such a beautiful sentiment, and kind of perfect for this character’s struggle.
JE: I was just surprised to see it. Yeah, it’s as artful as the movie is, which is never the case.
Usually the trailers are the most crass form of what the movie is, to bring people into it, and I completely understand that, which is why I don’t like to watch trailers, because they usually don’t reflect the tone of the movie, or the artistry of the movie.
This not only reflected the artistry of the movie, but created its own power. My father is a professor, and when he saw the trailer, he called me to talk about it, and it was this endless diatribe on the beauty of it.
JT: What an ingenious way to pay attention to the lyrics that Thom Yorke had written, you know, ‘I want a perfect body’, and the guy flexing his muscles.
I think it immediately engages you in a way that forces you to look in the mirror and say, ‘Oh, this is why I use this.’
I think it made people ask a lot of questions of themselves, and then, after it hooked you in that way, then there was another minute and a half of story, and by the way, this is how this came to be… So yeah, I think it’s definitely the best trailer of the year.
I only included the questions/answers that Jesse was involved in. They asked Justin and Andrew individual questions which you can read at the source.