Stars of 'The Social Network' Talk About Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook and Their Film

PHOTO Justin Timberlake, left, and Jesse Eisenberg in Columbia Pictures "The Social Network."
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A few years ago Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg would not have been very welcome at New York's Harvard Club in his trademark hoodie and T-shirt. Harvard men just didn't look that way.

Zuckerberg is now one of America's newest billionaires, but he wasn't the one who drew a crowd at the club on Saturday morning. Instead, the makers of the semi-fictional film about Facebook's birth, "The Social Network," decided to use it for a press conference and junket.

So there they were: cast members Justin Timberlake, Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin sat below oversized portraits of university dignitaries and sipped Starbucks coffee while they shared opinions of Zuckerberg and the film's director, David Fincher.

"I spent six months thinking about [Zuckerberg] every day." said Eisenberg, who plays Zuckerberg in the movie. "I developed a great affection for my character …and I'd be very interested in meeting him. Fortunately, my first cousin Eric got a great job working at Facebook about a month before we finished shooting, and I'm hoping that he'll facilitate an introduction."

Reviews have so far been favorable, but Zuckerberg himself has said the story is largely made up: "I mean, the real story is actually probably pretty boring, right? I mean, we just sat at our computers for six years and coded."

Sorkin said he admired Zuckerberg. "No sooner had it been announced that Mark was going to donate a hundred million dollars to the Newark public school systems…that talk of cynical motives were being ascribed to it…

"I just have to say…that's wrong," said Sorkin. "I think he's made… a great gesture... Surely the students and parents and teachers don't care why it was done. Somebody does something like that and the only response is, 'Thank you sir. Thank you very much.' I think it's worth us especially coming to Mark's side in that."

Unlike Eisenberg, Timberlake, who plays Sean Parker -- a mentor of Zuckerberg's and the co-founder of the music-sharing website Napster -- actually met his character before filming "The Social Network." For a moment.

"I briefly bumped into [Parker]…here in New York…, but we spoke for probably all of two minutes," Timberlake said. "We didn't really talk about much. He mentioned that he had read the script and he thought that I was going to be playing the part, but at the time I wasn't [cast in the role yet] so that was awkward. … He seemed like a nice guy, though."

Ninety-Nine Takes of One Shot

The cast was asked about director David Fincher and his unconventional shooting schedule.

"David Fincher does a lot of takes," Eisenberg laughed. "We performed [the film's opening] scene 99 times. He refused to do it the extra time to get it to a hundred and it was just really exciting."

Hammer, who plays the Winklevoss twins, Zuckerberg's former Harvard classmates who famously sued him for stealing their idea for a Harvard social network, said, "There was one day where we shot 46 takes of a long walk and talk before Fincher said, 'Cut. Print. Take that one. Erase all the ones before it.'"

'The Social Network' Cast Talks About Filming

Timberlake said of Fincher, "I've never seen someone so hyper-smart…at multitasking. To watch him direct the camera operator, Jesse and myself, and then have the set design come in and move the blinds [back and forth] an inch [for 25 minutes] because he wanted to shield the light at an angle [was incredible]."

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