Aaron Sorkin: Facebook, Zuckerberg and ‘A Tragic Hero’

By Kate McCarthy

Sep 24, 2010 7:50am

The man who wrote "The Social Network" does not like social media — at all. But Aaron Sorkin told me that didn’t matter because he said this movie is more than just about Facebook, it’s a classic tale about friendship, betrayal, jealousy and power.

“At the center of it is this very modern invention, but the story is really as old as storytelling itself,” Sorkin said.

“It’s a creation story.  It also speaks right to this next generation.  The social networking age,” he said, but he maintains it is “irrelevant” if you are one of the 500 million people on Facebook or not.

“The Social Network” was made without the cooperation of Mark Zuckerberg – the founder of the social networking site and the central character of the film – and Zuckerberg has said he will not see it.

The majority of the film is spent seeing Zuckerberg as an “antihero,” Sorkin told me, and the last five minutes as a hero.

“To be a tragic hero, you have to have paid a price, and you have to feel remorse.  And he does those two things in the end,” he said.

Sorkin doesn’t believe that the portrayal of Zuckerberg was “horrifically unfair” – as David Kirkpatrick, the author of “The Facebook Effect,” described it.

“This is a piece that, first of all, is thoroughly researched.  Both through available research, legal documents, and a lot of first person research,” the “West Wing” creator said.

Sorkin said he based that research on three points of view: Zuckerberg’s and two different parties that were suing him.

“If I were Mark, if I were Facebook, I would want the story told only from my point of view, too,” he said. “But we tell it from his point of view as well as the points of view of the people suing him.”

But as to who is telling the truth or not –Sorkin leaves that up to the audience.

“We want those arguments to happen in the parking lot,” he told me.

George Stephanopoulos

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