On Monday, Sept. 13, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and actors Jesse Eisenberg and Armie Hammer launched a college tour to promote the pending release of their newest film, The Social Network, with early screenings of the film for students at Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill. Afterward, the three men sat for interviews with area media.

Sorkin is most famous for the television series The West Wing, but he has written screenplays for such political, zeitgeist-y films as A Few Good Men, Charlie Wilson’s War and next year’s adaptation of Michael Lewis’ Moneyball. Following are excerpts from Sorkin’s remarks.

On the drive behind Facebook and those who created it:

What we’re talking about is a kind of new subset of tech geniuses who are extremely angry, but it’s bigger than they’re not getting any. It’s [because] the cheerleader still wants to go out with the quarterback and not them, and why doesn’t the cheerleader understand that they’re the ones running the universe now?

I don’t use Facebook, and social networking isn’t something that interests me. It interests a lot of peopleif Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest country in the world. This great thing Mark invented was very much him wanting to sit at the cool kids’ table. This was a way of him throwing a party that he was not only invited to but he was going to be the host of.

Although I don’t know him, I feel confident in saying Mark doesn’t care about money. Money was never a motivation in building Facebook. The book The Accidental Billionaires [from which the film is loosely adapted] has a lot of scenes on yachts and young people “making it rain.” That wasn’t the part that interested me, and that wasn’t the part that interested Mark, either. Damn if he didn’t find a way to create a virtual cool kids’ table … Mark decided if he couldn’t get into Phoenix House, he was going to build his own Phoenix House.

Still, it’s tough to call yourself an anarchist when you’re the head of a company the size of General Motors or CBS.

On the allure and trappings of social media:

I absolutely understand the attraction to things like Twitter and making wall posts and status updates and things like that. I’m not comfortable socially. I’m much more comfortable writing alone in a room. I would like the world to think I’m as clever and quick and charming as the characters that I write. I’m very afraid they’re going to be disappointed when they meet me and see I’m not as smart as Martin Sheen in The West Wing or as daring as Tom Hanks in Charlie Wilson’s War or as good-looking as Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men. Except for the fact that I happen to be in love with my 9-year-old daughter, I could be happy slipping pages under a door and having people slip me a meal back on a tray. So I understand the desire to socialize by yourself in a dark room, to reinvent yourself, to be able to do a rewrite and a polish on who you are.

This thing, which we’ve been told is going to bring us closer, I don’t believe has done that. I think it’s moved us farther apart. We could point to fantastic things that have happened as a result of it, whether it’s protesting the elections in Iran, Jena Six, and all kinds of movements that Twitter or Facebook have been able to mobilize. I honestly believe Barack Obama would not have been elected president were it not both for social networking and specifically Chris Hughes, one of the founders of Facebook, who left to run then-Senator Obama’s entire Internet operation, hailed as the most sophisticated Internet operation in the history of campaigns. But I think it has also made us feel like we’re part of large, anonymous mob, and it’s given people the kind of permission that some people feel when they’re at a ballgame and you’ll hear someone shout the most horrible, personal things at a player, something they would never say an hour later in the parking lot to the player’s face. I feel like the Internet is encouraging people to behave that way.

On why he decided to option The Politician, Andrew Young’s book about the John Edwards sex scandal and cover-up:

My interest in it is roughly the same as my interest was in this Facebook story. It is a story of Shakespearean proportions, that there were motivations and decisions and consequences, the results of which were epic. I can tell you that I’ll be directing the movie as well as adapting it, but there’s not much more I can say [now] except that when you hear someone is making a story about the John Edwards-Elizabeth Edwards-Rielle Hunter-Andrew Young thing, there’s a movie you’re picturing in your head. You’re picturing a kind of tawdry Lifetime movie. All I know is it can’t be that, just like [The Social Network]. If you go back and look on the Internet when it was announced we were making this movie, you’ll see it was met with a collective “Ugh, a movie about Facebook… how can that be good?” People were understandably saying “Ugh” to the movie that was in their heads, which was a bad movie. I would have said “Ugh” to the same thing, too. I promise you that The Politician will surprise you as much as [The Social Network] did.

Continue to Page 2 for additional excerpts from Sorkin as well as actors Eisenberg and Hammer.


Here are outtakes from the Indy‘s interview with Aaron Sorkin, the writer of The Social Network, and actors Jesse Eisenberg, who plays Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Armie Hammer, who plays Zuckerberg rivals and identical twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.

Sorkin describes the format of The Social Network, which consists of testimony given during depositions taken during two lawsuits filed against Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg followed by flashbacks to the events being described:

There were two lawsuits brought against Facebook at roughly the same time. The Plaintiffs, the DefendantMark [Zuckerberg]and a number of witnesses went into two different deposition rooms, swore an oath, and all told very different stories. I decided at some point early in the process that rather than choose one of those stories and decide that one’s the truth or that one’s the juiciest, why not embrace the idea that everyone is telling a different story? Why not let that be the motor [for the story] and not have the movie take a position about what the truth is. Just let it be Rashomon, have it all come out of the structure of the two deposition rooms. Then, let the fights and arguments happen in the parking lot about did Mark steal Facebook from the Winklevoss’ or does a guy who makes a really good chair not owe money to everybody who’s ever made a chair?”

Eisenberg on working with Justin Timberlake, who portrays Napster co-founder Sean Parker:

My character kind of sees his character like a rock star, and so I used all the feelings I already had about Justin Timberlakehe’s a celebrity and you’re nervous around him, but he’s charming so you’re kind of friendly with him as well. All of those things are in the exact relationship my character has with [Sean Parker] in the movie, so all the feelings I went in with about Justin Timberlake, Mark had for Sean Parker.

Hammer on playing twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss:

I think initially the plan was to hire twins. They really wanted twins who knew how to row, who were 6-foot-5, and knew how to act, and they searched for a long time. When I auditioned, I went in with [actor] Josh Pence, who actually got cast as well to portray the twins. We were under the impression they might use both of us because we look very similar, and maybe make them fraternal twins, even though they were identical twins in Sorkin’s story. As the process went on, it was more and more evident that they needed identical twins to tell this story. So Josh and I were both hired, and I was responsible for portraying Cameron first and [Josh] would do the Tyler character, and after we would shoot it until [director David] Fincher was happy, he’d say, “Okay, switch it up.” We’d switch clothes, I’d go into the Tyler position.

We spent a lot of time rehearing before we actually started shooting, which was about three to four weeks of table meets. We wanted to make sure we didn’t do the one good twin, one evil twin. There had to be almost 11 degrees of separation between the same two characters. They both came from the same place, but it was understood they were different people.”

Eisenberg on the experience of working with director David Fincher:

It’s completely singular. He’s known for doing many takes, and it’s truesometime you’d end up doing a scene 100-plus times. And, after each take, he’d have something of value to say, which is rare. With this film and my character, I was really interested in hearing the director’s input because the character has a unique disengagement. If we did a scene 60 times, we’d do 30 kind of disengaged and the other 30 more personable. I’m curious myself to see what the final product is.”

Hammer on being cast in director George Miller’s ill-fated Justice League movie:

[In 2007] I got hired to play Batman in George Miller’s Justice League. I got sent down to Australia and was told I’d be there for at least a year. So, I packed my suitcase, said goodbye to everyone I knew and decided to just jump into this thing. I spent a month and a half down there training. The best part about that training process was George Miller is such a…I don’t want to say method because I don’t even want to try to put that guy into a box. He’s another one of those genius minds. He was training each actor as their character. So, [the actor playing] The Flash would train with rubber bands and try to be quick, and Aquaman was swimming all the time with dolphins. Because he had no super powers, Batman had to be the consummate martial artist. He was the only human in the Justice League, so he had to prove himself. I worked six hours a day with the Australian special forces and trained with top martial artists from all over the world. I’m almost glad that it didn’t work out, because I was so young and I feel like I knew so little that if it had happened, it probably would have just messed me up in some way. I feel like it would have sent me on a bad trajectory and I wouldn’t have recovered. I feel like I have a better head on my shoulders now than I did then. Still, I was sick for months after that didn’t work out.”