Connecting with the stars of “The Social Network”

Patrick St. Pierre

Facebook hits the big screen

“The Social Network,” starring Jesse Eisenberg, Armie Hammer and Andrew Garfield, logs you in to the controversial beginning of the largest social movement in the history of the world, with more than 500 million users. The controversy surrounds how, the now billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg (played by Eisenberg, “Zombieland”) created Facebook with some of his close friends at Harvard College. One of those close friends was the first CFO of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin (played by Andrew Garfield, “Spider-Man” 2012). The film, out on Friday, Oct. 1, also delves into how Zuckerberg was originally hired to create a similar site like Facebook for two other Harvard students, the Winklevoss twins (played by Hammer, “Gossip Girl”), but because of certain differences, Zuckerberg decided to create his own site. Lawsuits ensue, and over the course of two different depositions, the entire story comes out on record.

PSP: What was it like playing a real person, who you know will see the performance?

Eisenberg: We were kind of discouraged from doing any specific impressions of our characters. The most significant thing for me with playing someone real was that it provided a lot of great resources in order to prepare. You know, there were so many audio and video clips online. Also, even though we were portraying them, we looked at them like characters and not real people. It was also Aaron Sorkin’s script, even if I hadn’t had all that (previous information), the script would have sufficed.

PSP: Do you think the film will change people’s opinion of Facebook, knowing how controversial its beginning was?

Eisenberg: It’s kind of impossible for me to speculate. The movie details a dispute during the creation of Facebook. It doesn’t change the fact that Facebook is a phenomenon and a great tool. I don’t think anyone is going to cancel their page because of it.

PSP: How was this role challenging for you as an actor?

Garfield: Every role challenges me as an actor, being an actor is really challenging for me (laughs). Like, he’s from Brazil, so, how am I going to convince people that I’m from Brazil? That was a scary thing. The dialogue is double-edged because it’s so good, and Aaron Sorkin writes so fluidly and every single thought links up. It’s so economical and funny and human, but to be that articulate constantly is tough. Eduardo is so articulate, and his journey goes through extremes. He’s an open, warm individual, and it was tough going through a break up with his best friend. Being betrayed is a bad thing (laughs).

PSP: Congratulations on landing Spider-Man. Is there anything you’ve done to prepare yet?

Garfield: Well, I’ve been prepping since I was four years old (laughs). I was climbing walls and couches and fighting crime ever since I knew the concept of what justice was (laughs). So, preparation has been 20 years in the making, and I don’t even feel quite ready. It’s very exciting, and I’m deeply honored to be a part of something I’ve loved since I was four.

PSP: Is there a difference in how you prepare for a feature film versus television?

Hammer: I wouldn’t say there is so much difference in how you prepare, but there is in how you execute it. With television it’s a lot about making your day. It’s about doing an episode in eight days and making sure you get it done and if you don’t it’ll bleed through to the rest of the days of your week. But with a film, it’s so much more about the passion and getting right. It’s people who are ultimately more interested in the work and less about the business of it. It’s so much more gratifying working on film ‘cause everyone wants to get it right. That’s not to say working on TV doesn’t have its own set of benefits, like the steady paycheck, the amount of work, etc.

PSP: Working with Ray Wise had to be nice.

Hammer: That guy is velvet, he’s so slick. That guy is awesome.

Contact Patrick St. Pierre at [email protected].