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Jesse Eisenberg stars as the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, in The Social Network, directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin. He talks exclusively to Pure Movies about Facebook, the film’s reaction and playing Mark Zuckerberg.
Do you use Facebook?
I don’t use Facebook but I was so interested in the movie because it’s a very interesting examination of this new phenomenon and how the people who created it were fundamentally changed by its premature success.
They were using their talents and it ended up making them famous in way that they probably didn’t anticipate, as they are known across the world. As an actor, do you relate on that level at all?
Well the character I play, Mark Zuckerberg, created an application in high school, which Microsoft attempted to purchase and he turned it down. He created many things. Facebook, of course, is his most successful invention.
I could relate to it a very microscopic way which is that, as an actor, you do a film and, every time you are working on it, you think it’s really good. Then it’s received by the public in a way that’s not always in line with what you felt about it. I think Mark had a similar thing. He created this website, that’s shown in the movie, called Facemash.com where he was comparing other students at Harvard and he’s taken to task for it but he assumes that it was a wonderful created and he should receive credit from the administrative board.
It’s kind of a similar thing as an actor, which is what I was thinking about doing that scene, you don’t know how what you’re doing will be perceived by others. Of course, you hope it is perceived well but it’s never perceived in the exact same way as you intended.
How do people feel about the film?
We had a strange reaction to the movie a few weeks ago where somebody saw it and said that after the movie they wanted to egg Mark Zuckerberg’s house and then help him clean it up. That’s the reaction I’ve got from a lot of people after screenings. We’ve been travelling around America and now Europe doing these screenings and some people come up and give me a hug after the movie, while others kind of scowl at me as if I’ve done something wrong to them. I haven’t done anything to them whether it be lovable or scowl-worthy but people have that kind of reaction because they watch you and I understand that.
Would you be friends on Facebook with your character?
Yeah, I have such a great affection for my character. This is a guy who felt like he didn’t fit in college and, instead of just feeling bad for himself; he created this wonderful invention of Facebook. I have such an admiration for him so I would love to be friends with him if I had a Facebook page and he wasn’t a billionaire and didn’t have time for me.
Sometimes you had to do up to 90 takes for some scenes. How was that?
It’s wonderful. The most frustrating part of doing a movie was feeling like you didn’t have enough time to do what you prepared and trained to do. In acting school, they teach you to think about a scene in many different ways and to be able to perform it in different ways. When you get to a movie set, there are lights and cameras and hundreds of people working on it and you get two chances to do this very nerve-wracking thing. With this movie we had dozens and dozens of opportunities to do it as best we could.