Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin found an unexpected match in The Social Network's director David Fincher

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      NEW YORK CITY—When Aaron Sorkin set out to write the screenplay for the film The Social Network, which looks at the origins of Facebook and a lawsuit launched by cofounders against CEO Mark Zuckerberg, he knew there wasn’t going to be much cooperation from the people involved. He says that one of the film’s producers, Scott Rudin, went to the director of communications for Facebook, Elliot Schrage, and made a bid to talk to Zuckerberg. However, it didn’t get too far.

      Watch the trailer for The Social Network.

      “Scott asked him, ”˜What would it take to get you to cooperate?’ and he said, ”˜Don’t set it in Harvard and don’t call it Facebook,’” Sorkin says during an interview at Manhattan’s Harvard Club. “ ”˜We will help you out if you write fiction, but we aren’t going to help you out telling the true story.’ I was very lucky that some of the people who were in the room [during the founding of Facebook] did talk to me on the condition of anonymity.”

      On the surface, Rudin’s decision to pair Sorkin—perhaps best known as the creator of The West Wing—with Fight Club and Seven director David Fincher looks a little risky. Sorkin says the relationship had a “Felix and Oscar” (of The Odd Couple) quality to it. “It is not intuitively what you think of [as] the right marriage of director and writer, but David is peerless as a visual director and I write about people talking in rooms. He embraced the fact that this was a story that would be told through language, but he did bring a visual style and he got great performances from these actors. He was adamant about not having a script-development process. He insisted that the movie be made right away. He didn’t want to go through nine drafts and notes from the studio, because he felt it would have homogenized the writing process and he didn’t want to do that. So while it may have been Felix and Oscar, it worked, and if I never work with another director than him, I would be very happy.”

      The film, which is currently playing in Vancouver, looks at the relationship between Zuckerberg and his cocreators from several perspectives, including Zuckerberg’s. Although Zuckerberg doesn’t come out of the movie looking particularly heroic, Sorkin says he believes that Zuckerberg’s huge donation to the Newark public-school system a week before the film’s release is pure coincidence. “For one thing, I see Mark as the antihero, which makes him the protagonist. The antagonists are the people who sued Mark, because if no one had ever sued there wouldn’t be a story. But I really do think this [the donation] has nothing to do with the movie. No sooner had it been announced that he was donating $100 million to Newark’s schools that motives were being ascribed to it. It’s a great gesture. Surely the students don’t care why it has been done. When someone does that, the only good response, as far as I’m concerned, is, ”˜Thank you very much.’”