Of all the films set to be released this coming fall, NONE has so precisely embodied the recipe for box office glory and Academy Award recognition as The Social Network. Heck, even its moody, unabashedly emo film trailer could win awards for its strangely captivating portrait of fame and financial success, derived from nerdy college angst. Check it out . . .
For those of you curious about the song in this trailer, it’s a cover of the popular Radiohead song “Creep,” as performed by a Belgium girls choir named Scala & Kolacny Brothers. Both the original version of the song and this version are currently available for download online.
So, now that you’ve seen the trailer, let’s take a few moments to break down what’s makes it “tick.”
The Idea – Facebook
Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past six years, you’ve probably at least heard of Facebook. The online social networking website, launched back in February of 2004, has, for better or worse, become practically ubiquitous in modern culture, with over 500 million users to date, and counting.
The idea for Facebook was developed on the campus of Harvard University back in 2003 by college roommates Mark Zuckerberg,
and Chris Hughes (who eventually went on to become the online campaign coordinator for now-President Obama during the 2008 elections).
Also involved in the inception of Facebook was Sean Parker, who you may remember as one of the dudes who founded a certain music file-sharing site, which USED to be awesome (until you actually started having to pay for it), Napster.
(Parker went on to become the president of Facebook, Inc.)
A sizeable amount of litigation arose out of the founding of Facebook, and the manner in which the company was managed. Most notably, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, along with their friend Divya Narendra, claimed that Facebook infringed upon their copyright for the social networking site ConnectU, which was also started at Harvard University.
Eventually, this lawsuit was settled out-of-court to the tune of $65 million (although the exact about of the settlement itself is still subject to additional litigation). The Winklevoss twins, who are also nationally acclaimed rowers, eventually went on to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Nice abs, newly rich dudes!
Eduardo Saverin also sued Facebook, alleging misappropriation of company funds on the part of Mark Zuckerberg. He also petitioned for the right to be listed on the website as one of the company’s founders (which he now is). Both lawsuits were settled shortly before the publication of Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires, on which The Social Network is based.
Source Material: The Accidental Billionaires
The Accidental Billionaires, a purportedly nonfiction account of the founding of Facebook, Inc., was published in 2009, and debuted at #4 on the New York Times Nonfiction Bestseller List. It’s author, Ben Mezrich . . .
. . . is perhaps best known for his other nonfiction book, Bringing Down the House, about a bunch of MIT students who took the casino world by storm, by developing an ingenious card-counting scheme for the game of Blackjack. The book was eventually made into a movie called 21, which starred Kate Bosworth, among others. Mark Zuckerberg took no part in the writing of this book. And Eduardo Saverin, who was one of its main primary sources, backed away from it significantly, once his lawsuit was settled. (Shocker.) The book received mainly mixed reviews.
The Men BEHIND the Curtain
The pedigree of this film has been measurably increased by the big names responsible for its screenplay and direction, respectively. On the screenplay side, we have Aaron Sorkin . . .
. . . who you may remember as head writer for the fabulous Emmy award-winning television drama, The West Wing.
I love you, Josh Lyman!
As far as directors go, David Fincher, is pretty much as awesome as they come!
Kind of cute too!
His resume includes critically acclaimed and award-winning films such as . . .
and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
In terms of its cast, this film’s IMDB page reads like a Who’s Who in twenty-something Hollywood. For the lead role of Mark Zuckerberg, we have the immensely talented and charmingly geeky, Jesse Eisenberg . . .
. . . who you might remember from that homage to all things ’80’s film, Adventureland, in which Eisenberg starred alongside Bella Swan herself, Kristen Stewart . . .
the Academy Award Winning film, The Squid and the Whale, and /or Zombieland . . .
Playing the role of Eduardo Saverin is Andrew Garfield . . .
. . . who has recently been vetted to play Pete Parker, in the upcoming Spiderman prequel / reboot . . .
Napster Guy, Sean Parker, is being played by none-other-than Justin Timberlake! (How much do you want to bet that one of his songs will be featured in the movie as an INSIDE joke? After all, it’s not like the “product placement” wouldn’t make sense, in context. Find me ONE person who WASN’T listening to Justin Timberlake in 2003, and I’ll find you a LIAR!)
And yet, what we sometimes forget about Justin, is that he’s not only a successful singer / songwriter, he’s also a pretty talented actor, having shined in both dramatic films . . .
. . . like the critically acclaimed (and highly awesome) Alpha Dog, and comedic ones, like Shrek 3. And let’s not forget, Dick in a Box?
Other stars in this film include Rooney Mara . . .
. . . who just recently landed the role of Lisbeth Salander in the U.S. adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s almost annoyingly successful (You can’t walk two feet without seeing SOMEONE reading the damn thing) novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo;
Malese Jow . . .
. . . who fans of The Vampire Diaries television series (like me) will instantly recognize as the way-too-soon departed Vampire Anna . . .
And Brenda Song . . .
. . . who is perhaps best known for playing the ditsy Paris Hilton-esque heiress, London Tipton, on the Disney Channel’s The Suite Life series . . .
So, there you have it: a hot young cast, a brilliant director, an Emmy-award winning screenwriter, a bestselling book by a critically acclaimed author as source material, a controversial story, a hip trailer, and a groundbreaking idea that changed the way our world socializes on a daily basis. When it comes to Hollywood films, they just don’t get much more “Alpha Male” then this!
And, of course, with every successful film idea and trailer comes the inevitable barrage of spoofs and copycats. The Social Network is no exception. I particularly enjoyed THIS ONE about ANOTHER social networking site that some might deem equally filmworthy . . .
The Social Network requests to be your “Friend” on October 1, 2010. Confirm or Deny?