Mark Zuckerberg boasted, “I’m going to f— the Winklevosses,” Sorkin points out at TheWrap’s Academy Screening Series
Despite protests from the Facebook co-founder, it’s becoming clear that the critically lauded “The Social Network” paints a pretty accurate portrait of Mark Zuckerberg.
Newly leaked IM’s from Zuckerberg’s hard drive seem to substantiate claims in the film that the Facebook founder stole the idea for his social networking site from the real-life Winklevoss twins.
Zuckerberg comes right out and says, “I’m going to f— the Winklevosses,” screenwriter Aaron Sorkin told TheWrap’s Dominic Patten at a packed showing of film Sunday night at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, part of TheWrap’s ongoing Academy Screening Series. (Pictured: Sorkin, Patten, Hammer; all photographs by Jonathan Alcorn.)
Armie Hammer, who played both twins in the critically lauded film, put it even more graphically at the Q&A following the film: “He testified that he wanted to copulate with them in the ear.”
Coincidentally, as the evening was getting under way, Zuckerberg and the Winklevosses appeared on CBS’ “60 Minutes” to discuss their differences. The brothers were awarded a settlement of $65 million but are appealing on the grounds that there is no amount of money that will impress on Zuckerberg, a billionaire, how painfully he wronged them.
“In the court of public opinion, no one was ever going to believe that these two guys, these bluebloods, born with a silver spoon in their mouths, were victimized by this little guy,” noted Sorkin. “The whole world would think it would have to be the other way around.”
Hammer talked about how easily misunderstood the Winklevosses were. Blond, affluent, Harvard educated and Olympic rowers, it is easy to see the twins as stereotypical jocks picking on a nerd.
“But these two guys have a hard time understanding what this 21st century man is all about and how to deal with this modern man,” said the actor.
Sorkin, a respected writer for the big screen (“A Few Good Men”) as well as the small (“The West Wing”), talked about the origins of the project based on the book, “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich.
What instantly drew him to the material were themes of friendship, loyalty, betrayal, jealousy, class and power. “The kinds of things that Aeschylus would write about, Shakespeare would write about,” Sorkin said. “It was lucky for me that neither was available, so I got to write about it.”
“The Social Network” originated with producing partners Dana Brunetti and actor Kevin Spacey, who knew Mezrich from producing “21,” a film adaptation of the author’s previous book, “Bringing Down the House.” Before the deal was finalized, however, producer Scott Rudin became interested and, according to Sorkin, a deal was made to include him.
Zuckerberg is reported to be unhappy with the finished film. “I don’t think any of us would want a movie made about the things we did when we were 19 years old,” said Sorkin. But, he said, “You can’t play fast and loose with the facts. This script was vetted to within an inch of its life by a team of lawyers that couldn’t fit into this theater.”
His research included public domain items such as Zuckerberg’s own blog posts as well as articles published in the university newspaper and legal documents stemming from two lawsuits against Zuckerberg. Witnesses to the events in question also participated.
“You can’t judge him at all,” admonished Sorkin who related to Zuckerberg a little easier than he thought he would. “Like most people, I’ve felt like an outsider a lot of times in my life. So it was easy for me to connect to Mark and once I could do that, then I felt fine about it.”
Sorkin and Hammer acknowledged the good and bad points of social media, but Sorkin admitted to not having a Facebook page and having very little enthusiasm for the internet in general.
He remains troubled by what he called a “lack of sincerity” in social media. “We’re not talking to each other. We’re writing at each other. We’re writing for an audience. We know that other people are reading that wall post,” said Sorkin. “We’re trying to elicit a response.”
He wrapped up with a final admonition: “I get the appeal, but you are forfeiting humanity.”
TheWrap's 2nd annual Screening Series features 12 of the most significant films of 2010, and will screen at the Arclight Sherman Oaks through December 2010, followed by question-and-answer sessions with the film's talent. The films are open to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the DGA, PGA and WGA members, and to subscribers to TheWrap's daily email newsletter, First Take.